PerspectiveStructural Biology

Force and Voltage Sensors in One Structure

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Science  22 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5598, pp. 1562-1563
DOI: 10.1126/science.1079369

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To respond to sudden changes in osmolality, most prokaryotes have mechanosensitive channels that open in response to tension and so prevent the cell-membrane from bursting. In their perspective, Bezanilla and Perozo discuss new work (Bass et al.) on the structure of a small-conductance mechanosensitive channel (MscS) that provides new insights into how the cell senses and responds to changes in tension and voltage.