Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • News & Views
  • Published:

Structural biology

A channel with a twist

Mechanosensitive channels release tension in cell membranes by opening 'pressure relief' pores. The structure of a partially open channel suggests a gating mechanism and delivers an unexpected architectural twist.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: Opening of the MscL channel.


  1. Broder, S. & Venter, J. C. Annu. Rev. Pharmacol. Toxicol. 40, 97–132 (2000).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Anishkin, A. & Kung, C. Curr. Opin. Neurobiol. 15, 397–405 (2005).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Booth, I. R., Edwards, M. D., Black, S., Schumann, U. & Miller, S. Nature Rev. Microbiol. 5, 431–440 (2007).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Kung, C. Nature 436, 647–654 (2005).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Martinac, B., Saimi, Y. & Kung, C. Physiol. Rev. 88, 1449–1490 (2008).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Liu, Z., Gandhi, C. S. & Rees, D. C. Nature 461, 120–124 (2009).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Wiggins, P. & Phillips, R. Biophys. J. 88, 880–902 (2005).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Chang, G., Spencer, R. H., Lee, A. T., Barclay, M. T. & Rees, D. C. Science 282, 2220–2226 (1998).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Sukharev, S. I., Sigurdson, W. J., Kung, C. & Sachs, F. J. Gen. Physiol. 113, 525–540 (1999).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Perozo, E., Cortes, D. M., Sompornpisut, P., Kloda, A. & Martinac, B. Nature 418, 942–948 (2002).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Sukharev, S., Betanzos, M., Chiang, C. S. & Guy, H. R. Nature 409, 720–724 (2001).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Cruickshank, C. C., Minchin, R. F., Le Dain, A. C. & Martinac, B. Biophys. J. 73, 1925–1931 (1997).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. van den Bogaart, G., Krasnikov, V. & Poolman, B. Biophys. J. 92, 1233–1240 (2007).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Betanzos, M., Chiang, C. S., Guy, H. R. & Sukharev, S. Nature Struct. Biol. 9, 704–710 (2002).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Sukharev, S. I., Schroeder, M. J. & McCaslin, D. R. J. Membr. Biol. 171, 183–193 (1999).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Saint, N. et al. J. Biol. Chem. 273, 14667–14670 (1998).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Vásquez, V., Perozo, E. A channel with a twist. Nature 461, 47–48 (2009).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing