Bacterial Mechanosensitive Channels-MscS: Evolution's Solution to Creating Sensitivity in Function

James H. Naismith, Ian R. Booth

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

66 Citations (Scopus)


The discovery of mechanosensing channels has changed our understanding of bacterial physiology. The mechanosensitive channel of small conductance (MscS) is perhaps the most intensively studied of these channels. MscS has at least two states: closed, which does not allow solutes to exit the cytoplasm, and open, which allows rapid efflux of solvent and solutes. The ability to appropriately open or close the channel (gating) is critical to bacterial survival. We briefly review the science that led to the isolation and identification of MscS. We concentrate on the structure-function relationship of the channel, in particular the structural and biochemical approaches to understanding channel gating. We highlight the troubling discrepancies between the various models developed to understand MscS gating.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnnual Review of Biophysics
Place of PublicationPalo Alto
PublisherAnnual Reviews
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)978-0-8243-1841-3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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