A possible unifying principle for mechanosensation

  title={A possible unifying principle for mechanosensation},
  author={Ching Kung},
  • C. Kung
  • Published 4 August 2005
  • Biology
  • Nature
Of Aristotle's five senses, we know that sight, smell and much of taste are initiated by ligands binding to G-protein-coupled receptors; however, the mechanical sensations of touch and hearing remain without a clear understanding of their molecular basis. Recently, the relevant force-transducing molecules—the mechanosensitive ion channels—have been identified. Such channel proteins purified from bacteria sense forces from the lipid bilayer in the absence of other proteins. Recent evidence has… 
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The physiological properties of mechanotransduction ion channels in hearing and touch, the identification of their molecular entities, and recent structural studies providing insights to their gating mechanisms in force sensing are discussed.
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Using bacterial MS channels as a model, it is shown by reconstituting these channels into liposomes that there is a close relationship between the physico-chemical properties of the lipid bilayer and structural dynamics bringing about the function of these channels.


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Members of two extensive membrane protein families have emerged as candidate sensory mechanotransduction channels in Caenorhabditis elegans, and an emphasis on insights into their function derived from mutation is emphasis.
Mechanosensitive ion channels
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  • Biology
    The Journal of Membrane Biology
  • 2005
Evidence is growing that most cells have ion channels potentially capable of monitoring and regulating active and passive variations in cellular mechanics, and mechanosensitive MS channels are present as membrane components in ordinary pedestrian cells, rather than being confined to the exotic mechanoreceptor specialists.
Mechanosensitive ion channels of E. coli activated by amphipaths
Findings support the view that the mechanical gating force can come from the surrounding lipids.
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It is reported that the zebrafish ortholog of Drosophila no mechanoreceptor potential C (nompC), which encodes a transient receptor potential (TRP) channel, is critical for HC mechanotransduction and eliminated transduction-dependent endocytosis and electrical responses in HCs, resulting in larval deafness and imbalance.
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