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Access to the article is free, however registration and sign-in are required. To respond to sudden changes in osmolality, most prokaryotes have mechanosensitive channels that open in response to tension and so prevent the cell-membrane from bursting. In their perspective, Bezanilla and Perozo discuss new work (Bass et al.) on the structure of a small-conductance mechanosensitive channel (MscS) that provides new insights into how the cell senses and responds to changes in tension and voltage.
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