Channels in microbes: So many holes to fill

Ching Kung, Paul Blount

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Among players in neurobiology, ion channels are the demigods that underlie all our senses, behaviour and intelligence. In animals, these 'gated pores' detect ligands, voltage, heat or stretch forces and emit electric or ionic signals. Patch clamp and genome sequencing now show that nearly all microbes also have these 'smart' molecules. Microbial channel proteins have yielded crystal structures so dear to neuroscientisis. However, their natural roles in microbial physiology remain largely unknown. The intellectual and technical schisms between 'neuro' and 'micro' biology must be bridged before we know how we became so smart, and whether microbes are just as smart.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-380
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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