Abstract Title

Mechanical Stress Modulates the Ionic Conductance of Bilayer Lipid Membranes

Additional Funding Sources

This project is supported by a 2020-2021 STEM Undergraduate Research Grant from the Higher Education Research Council, NSF CAREER Grant No. 1554166, and the Boise State University Department of Physics.

Abstract

The modulation of the transmembrane voltage of receptor cells using mechanical stimuli is an essential component of touch and hearing senses. Such stimuli influence the conducting state of mechano-sensitive channels, which in turn adjusts the ionic permeation and consequently the transmembrane voltage. The necessity of ion channels in these transduction processes seems obvious due to the non-conductive nature of a lipid membrane. However, our electrophysiology experiments show that a bare, artificial lipid membrane exposed to mechanical stress allows the passage of inorganic ions. We concluded that lipid membranes may constitute an important component of the transduction mechanism under mechanical stimuli.

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Mechanical Stress Modulates the Ionic Conductance of Bilayer Lipid Membranes

The modulation of the transmembrane voltage of receptor cells using mechanical stimuli is an essential component of touch and hearing senses. Such stimuli influence the conducting state of mechano-sensitive channels, which in turn adjusts the ionic permeation and consequently the transmembrane voltage. The necessity of ion channels in these transduction processes seems obvious due to the non-conductive nature of a lipid membrane. However, our electrophysiology experiments show that a bare, artificial lipid membrane exposed to mechanical stress allows the passage of inorganic ions. We concluded that lipid membranes may constitute an important component of the transduction mechanism under mechanical stimuli.