The patch clamp-liposome technique was used to examine the stretch sensitivity of a model membrane ion channel, gramicidin A, in membrane patches of different bilayer thickness. We found that small changes in phospholipid acyl chain length (i.e., PC-20 to PC-18) can switch gramicidin A from a stretch-activated to a stretch-inactivated channel. The demonstration that subnanometer changes in bilayer thickness can reverse the response polarity of a model channel has implications for other signaling proteins that may experience local changes in bilayer thickness as a consequence of dynamic targeting to lipid microdomains, electrocompression, or chemical modification of the bilayer.
|Number of pages
|Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
|Published - Apr 2 2002
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