Our paper in Nature Communications is now available – Allosteric activation of an ion channel triggered by modification of mechanosensitive nano-pockets

Here we detail a new technique to trick bacteria into revealing hundreds of holes in their cell walls, opening the door for drugs that destroy bacterial cells. This interdisciplinary work shows for first time that MscL channels are kept closed by membrane lipids – specifically lipid chains- which are located within nano-pockets highly sensitive to tension, pressure and force. When access of these lipids is disrupted by molecular nano-guards engineered at the entrance of the nano-pockets, the channel mechanically responds and opens its pore. Targeting these pores may pave the way for new drugs that can destroy bacterial cells and could make current antibiotics more effective or allow for the development of antibiotic-free drugs that can use these openings.

Here is a link to our paperĀ https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-12591-x