TitleSignatures of Mechanosensitive Gating.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsMorris RG
JournalBiophys J
Date Published2017 Jan 10

The question of how mechanically gated membrane channels open and close is notoriously difficult to address, especially if the protein structure is not available. This perspective highlights the relevance of micropipette-aspirated single-particle tracking-used to obtain a channel's diffusion coefficient, D, as a function of applied membrane tension, σ-as an indirect assay for determining functional behavior in mechanosensitive channels. While ensuring that the protein remains integral to the membrane, such methods can be used to identify not only the gating mechanism of a protein, but also associated physical moduli, such as torsional and dilational rigidity, which correspond to the protein's effective shape change. As an example, three distinct D-versus-σ "signatures" are calculated, corresponding to gating by dilation, gating by tilt, and gating by a combination of both dilation and tilt. Both advantages and disadvantages of the approach are discussed.

Alternate JournalBiophys. J.
PubMed ID28076813