New time-lapse system helps measure membrane tension


Sumary of New time-lapse system helps measure membrane tension:

  • Ion channels play an indispensable role in cellular physiology, and understanding the physical features that affect ion channel functions is a matter of considerable interest to biologists..
  • Mechanical stresses change the level of cell membrane tension, and stretch-activated ion channels in the membrane mediate tension-related electrical transduction.”.
  • Recent experiments have shown that tension sensitivity is a property of ion channels other than those historically classified as “mechanosensitive”.
  • channels, and biophysicists are coming to see tension sensitivity as an intrinsic property of ion channels in general..
  • However, efforts to elucidate the physiological relevance and molecular mechanisms of such tension sensitivity depend on the establishment of experimental methods that allow experimenters to evaluate dynamic changes in membrane tension in real time..
  • To meet this growing need, Professors Iwamoto and Oiki focused their efforts on developing a novel time-lapse system for measuring membrane tension..
  • In their experiments, they formed a bilayer by docking two monolayer-lined water bubbles and evaluated tension using the Young-Laplace principle to measure intra-bubble pressures lower than 100 pascals..
  • This novel experimental method has the advantage of relying on a straightforward model system consisting of purified channels and a simple lipid bilayer..
  • This model allows experimenters to avoid the unmanageable complexity of real cell membranes, which feature a wide variety of ion channels and accessory proteins..
  • Related Stories The KcsA ion channel is the prototypical ion channel used to understand ion channel structure-function relationships..
  • The channel functions in the bilayer, and this is an important advantage given the rapid variability in membrane tension that occurs during actual cellular activity while recording the dynamic responsiveness of the KcsA ion channel..
  • These experiments revealed a novel mode of action for tension sensitivity without precedent in the existing literature..
  • Interestingly, the KcsA ion channels exhibited sensitivity to membrane tension and responded quickly to its fluctuations..
  • One notable observation was that the ion channels’ responses to increasing membrane tension differed substantially from their responses to decreasing membrane tension…

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