Martinac, B, Nomura, T, Chi, G, Petrov, E, Rohde, PR, Battle, AR, Foo, A, Constantine, M, Rothnagel, R, Carne, S, Deplazes, E, Cornell, B, Cranfield, CG, Hankamer, B & Landsberg, MJ 2014, 'Bacterial mechanosensitive channels: models for studying mechanosensory transduction.', Antioxidants and Redox Signaling, vol. 20, no. 6, pp. 952-969.View/Download from: Publisher's site
SIGNIFICANCE: Sensations of touch and hearing are manifestations of mechanical contact and air pressure acting on touch receptors and hair cells of the inner ear, respectively. In bacteria, osmotic pressure exerts a significant mechanical force on their cellular membrane. Bacteria have evolved mechanosensitive (MS) channels to cope with excessive turgor pressure resulting from a hypo-osmotic shock. MS channel opening allows the expulsion of osmolytes and water, thereby restoring normal cellular turgor and preventing cell lysis. RECENT ADVANCES: As biological force-sensing systems, MS channels have been identified as the best examples of membrane proteins coupling molecular dynamics to cellular mechanics. The bacterial MS channel of large conductance (MscL) and MS channel of small conductance (MscS) have been subjected to extensive biophysical, biochemical, genetic, and structural analyses. These studies have established MscL and MscS as model systems for mechanosensory transduction. CRITICAL ISSUES: In recent years, MS ion channels in mammalian cells have moved into focus of mechanotransduction research, accompanied by an increased awareness of the role they may play in the pathophysiology of diseases, including cardiac hypertrophy, muscular dystrophy, or Xerocytosis. FUTURE DIRECTIONS: A recent exciting development includes the molecular identification of Piezo proteins, which function as nonselective cation channels in mechanosensory transduction associated with senses of touch and pain. Since research on Piezo channels is very young, applying lessons learned from studies of bacterial MS channels to establishing the mechanism by which the Piezo channels are mechanically activated remains one of the future challenges toward a better understanding of the role that MS channels play in mechanobiology.
Cranfield, CG, Cornell, BA, Grage, SL, Duckworth, P, Carne, S, Ulrich, AS & Martinac, B 2014, 'Transient potential gradients and impedance measures of tethered bilayer lipid membranes: pore-forming peptide insertion and the effect of electroporation.', Biophysical Journal, vol. 106, no. 1, pp. 182-189.View/Download from: Publisher's site
In this work, we present experimental data, supported by a quantitative model, on the generation and effect of potential gradients across a tethered bilayer lipid membrane (tBLM) with, to the best of our knowledge, novel architecture. A challenge to generating potential gradients across tBLMs arises from the tethering coordination chemistry requiring an inert metal such as gold, resulting in any externally applied voltage source being capacitively coupled to the tBLM. This in turn causes any potential across the tBLM assembly to decay to zero in milliseconds to seconds, depending on the level of membrane conductance. Transient voltages applied to tBLMs by pulsed or ramped direct-current amperometry can, however, provide current-voltage (I/V) data that may be used to measure the voltage dependency of the membrane conductance. We show that potential gradients >~150 mV induce membrane defects that permit the insertion of pore-forming peptides. Further, we report here the novel (to our knowledge) use of real-time modeling of conventional low-voltage alternating-current impedance spectroscopy to identify whether the conduction arising from the insertion of a polypeptide is uniform or heterogeneous on scales of nanometers to micrometers across the membrane. The utility of this tBLM architecture and these techniques is demonstrated by characterizing the resulting conduction properties of the antimicrobial peptide PGLa.
Valenzuela, S, Alkhamici, H, Brown, LJ, Almond, OC, Goodchild, SC, Carne, S, Curmi, PM, Holt, S & Cornell, BA 2013, 'Regulation Of The Membrane Insertion And Conductance Activity Of The Metamorphic Chloride Intracellular Channel Protein CLIC1 By Cholesterol', Plos One, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 1-8.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The Chloride Intracellular ion channel protein CLIC1 has the ability to spontaneously insert into lipid membranes from a soluble, globular state. The precise mechanism of how this occurs and what regulates this insertion is still largely unknown, although factors such as pH and redox environment are known contributors. In the current study, we demonstrate that the presence and concentration of cholesterol in the membrane regulates the spontaneous insertion of CLIC1 into the membrane as well as its ion channel activity. The study employed pressure versus area change measurements of Langmuir lipid monolayer films; and impedance spectroscopy measurements using tethered bilayer membranes to monitor membrane conductance during and following the addition of CLIC1 protein. The observed cholesterol dependent behaviour of CLIC1 is highly reminiscent of the cholesterol-dependent-cytolysin family of bacterial pore-forming proteins, suggesting common regulatory mechanisms for spontaneous protein insertion into the membrane bilayer.
Cranfield, C, Carne, S, Martinac, B & Cornell, B 2015, 'The assembly and use of tethered bilayer lipid membranes (tBLMs).', Humana Press (Springer Imprint), pp. 45-53.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Because they are firmly held in place, tethered bilayer lipid membranes (tBLMs) are considerably more robust than supported lipid bilayers such as black lipid membranes (BLMs) (Cornell et al. Nature 387(6633): 580-583, 1997). Here we describe the procedures required to assemble and test tethered lipid bilayers that can incorporate various lipid species, peptides, and ion channel proteins.