Today’s cyclodextrin from Christos Pliotas form The University of Manchester research reveals new insights into the activation kinetics of mechanosensitive channels. By mimicking tension through the sequestering of lipids from membranes, cyclodextrins enable the conversion of mechanical cues into electrical signals. The extent of MscS activation depends on the cyclodextrin-to-lipid ratio, with lipids being depleted slower when MscS is present.

This has implications for the activation kinetics of MscS in different membrane scaffolds. Additionally, MscS transits from closed to sub-conducting state(s) before it desensitizes due to the lack of lipid availability in its vicinity required for closure.

This approach allows for monitoring tension-sensitive states in membrane proteins and screening molecules capable of inducing molecular tension in bilayers.

Monitoring the conformational ensemble and lipid environment of a mechanosensitive channel under cyclodextrin-induced membrane tension: Structure (