Stretch-activated or stretch-gated ion channels are ion channels which open their pores in response to mechanical deformation of a neuron's plasma membrane. Though little is known about these channels, they may be linked to molecules in the cytoskeleton, which may open them by transmitting physical forces of stretch or pressure to the channels, causing them to undergo a conformational change (Kandel et al., 2000, p. 113). The channels may also be pulled open due to tension on the membrane itself (Kandel et al., 2000, p. 114). Opening the channels allows ions to which they are permeable to flow down their electrochemical gradients into or out of the cell, causing a change in membrane potential.
This can also be referred to as the Stress-activated gate because the gate (protein receptor) responds to pressure or stress.
- Kandel ER, Schwartz JH, Jessell TM. Principles of Neural Science, 4th ed., pp.113-114. McGraw-Hill, New York (2000). ISBN 0-8385-7701-6
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