Cryo-em structure of mechanosensitive channel ynai using sma2000: Challenges and opportunities

Claudio Catalano, Danya Ben-Hail, Weihua Qiu, Paul Blount, Amedee des Georges, Youzhong Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mechanosensitive channels respond to mechanical forces exerted on the cell membrane and play vital roles in regulating the chemical equilibrium within cells and their environment. High-resolution structural information is required to understand the gating mechanisms of mechanosensitive channels. Protein-lipid interactions are essential for the structural and functional integrity of mechanosensitive channels, but detergents cannot maintain the crucial native lipid environment for purified mechanosensitive channels. Recently, detergent-free systems have emerged as alternatives for membrane protein structural biology. This report shows that while membrane-active polymer, SMA2000, could retain some native cell membrane lipids on the transmembrane domain of the mechanosensitive-like YnaI channel, the complete structure of the transmembrane domain of YnaI was not resolved. This reveals a significant limitation of SMA2000 or similar membrane-active copolymers. This limitation may come from the heterogeneity of the polymers and nonspecific interactions between the polymers and the relatively large hydrophobic pockets within the transmembrane domain of YnaI. However, this limitation offers development opportunities for detergent-free technology for challenging membrane proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number849
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Cryo-EM
  • Mechanosensitive Channel
  • NCMN
  • SMA2000
  • YnaI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Filtration and Separation


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