Ching Kung

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Primary Section: 23, Physiology and Pharmacology
Membership Type:
Member (elected 2011)

Research Interests

Our laboratory studies the molecular basis of force sensing. We found that purified E. coli MscL and MscS ion channel protein can be opened by lipid-bilayer stretch under a patch clamp. This finding has now been replicated with animal ion channels such as TRAAK, TREK1, Piezo1, OSCA and TMEM63. Thus the physical properties of the bilayer apparently govern the mechanics and energetics of embedded proteins. This “force-from-lipid-bilayer” principle appears primal and fundamental, likely underlies the ability to sense mechanical forces in most, if not all, cases.

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