CPSC Lecture with Elizabeth Haswell – University of Copenhagen

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CPSC Lecture with Elizabeth Haswell

Stretching the Paradigm: New Insights into the Function and Regulation of MscS-Like Channel Family Members

A long-standing question is how biological systems sense and perceive mechanical signals such as osmotic pressure, gravity, and touch. One well-established molecular mechanism for force sensing is the activation of mechanosensitive (MS) ion channels.

The Mechanosensitive channel of Small conductance (MscS) from E. coli functions as a hypo-osmotic safety valve, opening in response to increased membrane tension and preventing cellular rupture. Genes predicted to encode MscS homologs are found in genomes from all three kingdoms of life. We have been characterizing the structure, function, and regulation of ten MscS-Like (MSL) proteins in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.

Based on their modest homology to MscS and high topological diversity, we have proposed that MSLs might (1) sense and respond to sources of membrane tension other than environmental hypo-osmotic shock; (2) be regulated by mechanisms in addition to membrane tension; and (3) signal in ways that are separable from ion flux. Evidence in support of all three of these hypotheses will be presented. 

Debarati Basu, Matt Mixdorf, Ivan Radin, Ryan Richardson, Angela Schlegel, Eric Schultz, Jennette Shoots, Yanbing Wang, Yizhou Wang and Elizabeth S. Haswell.

Department of Biology, Washington University in Saint Louis, USA.

About Elisabeth Haswell

Elisabeth Haswell is Associate Professor at Department of Biology, Washington University in St. Louis. She took her PhD in Biochemistry at University of California-San Francisco and after that worked as a postdoc at California Institute of Technology.

Her scientific interest is in how molecules, cellular structures, and entire organisms perceive force. Little is known about signaling in response to stimuli that are mechanical in nature, such as pressure, temperature, or gravity--signals that are crucial for normal growth and development. Her lab is currently characterizing a family mechanosensitive ion channels related to the bacterial channel MscS using live-imaging, single channel patch clamp electrophysiology, and complementary biochemical and molecular genetic approaches.


Time: 8 June 2017 at 15:00-16:00.
Place: Thorvaldsensvej 40, 1871 Frederiksberg C, lecture room A2-70.04