Note to users. If you're seeing this message, it means that your browser cannot find this page's style/presentation instructions -- or possibly that you are using a browser that does not support current Web standards. Find out more about why this message is appearing, and what you can do to make your experience of our site the best it can be.


Sci. STKE, 10 February 2004
Vol. 2004, Issue 219, p. re4
[DOI: 10.1126/stke.2192004re4]


Mechanosensitive Channels: Multiplicity of Families and Gating Paradigms

Sergei Sukharev1* and David P. Corey2*

1Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA.
2Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Abstract: Mechanosensitive ion channels are the primary transducers that convert mechanical force into an electrical or chemical signal in hearing, touch, and other mechanical senses. Unlike vision, olfaction, and some types of taste, which all use similar kinds of primary heterotrimeric GTP-binding protein–coupled receptors, mechanosensation relies on diverse types of transducer molecules. Unrelated types of channels can be used for the perception of various mechanical stimuli, not only in distant groups of organisms, but also in separate locations of the same organism. The extreme sensitivity of the transduction mechanism in the auditory system, which relies on an elaborate structure of rigid cilia, filamentous links, and molecular motors to focus force on transduction channels, contrasts with that of the bacterial channel MscL, which is opened by high lateral tension in the membrane and fulfills a safety-valve rather than a sensory function. The spatial scales of conformational movement and force in these two systems are described, and are shown to be consistent with a general physical description of mechanical channel gating. We outline the characteristics of several types of mechanosensitive channels and the functional contexts in which they participate in signaling and cellular regulation in sensory and nonsensory cells.

*Corresponding authors. E-mail: ss311{at}, dcorey{at}

Citation: S. Sukharev, D. P. Corey, Mechanosensitive Channels: Multiplicity of Families and Gating Paradigms. Sci. STKE 2004, re4 (2004).

Read the Full Text

Stretch-induced actin remodeling requires targeting of zyxin to stress fibers and recruitment of actin regulators.
L. M. Hoffman, C. C. Jensen, A. Chaturvedi, M. Yoshigi, and M. C. Beckerle (2012)
Mol. Biol. Cell 23, 1846-1859
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Radial stretch reveals distinct populations of mechanosensitive mammalian somatosensory neurons.
M. R. C. Bhattacharya, D. M. Bautista, K. Wu, H. Haeberle, E. A. Lumpkin, and D. Julius (2008)
PNAS 105, 20015-20020
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Mechanotransduction - a field pulling together?.
C. S. Chen (2008)
J. Cell Sci. 121, 3285-3292
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
An integrative approach to understanding mechanosensation.
C. C. Poirier and P. A. Iglesias (2007)
Brief Bioinform 8, 258-265
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Two Interdependent TRPV Channel Subunits, Inactive and Nanchung, Mediate Hearing in Drosophila.
Z. Gong, W. Son, Y. Doo Chung, J. Kim, D. W. Shin, C. A. McClung, Y. Lee, H. W. Lee, D.-J. Chang, B.-K. Kaang, et al. (2004)
J. Neurosci. 24, 9059-9066
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Mechanosensitive ion channels: molecules of mechanotransduction.
B. Martinac (2004)
J. Cell Sci. 117, 2449-2460
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »

To Advertise     Find Products

Science Signaling. ISSN 1937-9145 (online), 1945-0877 (print). Pre-2008: Science's STKE. ISSN 1525-8882