Dr. Blount's research is aimed at determining molecular, biochemical, and biophysical mechanisms underlying an organisms’ ability to detect mechanical forces. Such mechanosensation is necessary not only in our sense of touch, but in the ear for hearing and balance, as well as cardiovascular regulation. Because of its tractability and simplicity, he has primarily studied mechanosensitive channels in bacteria.

Dr. Blount’s laboratory utilizes a multidisciplinary approach that includes microbial genetics, biochemical, biophysical and electrophysiological approaches to explore the general functional principles of biological mechanosensors.

His work has also recently expanded to include investigating the potential use of bacterial mechanosensors as potential drug targets, developing them into ‘triggered nanovalves’ that could be used in drug-release devices or “smart” contrasts for MRI, and the biophysical characterization of candidate mammalian mechanosensitive channels.


University of California-San D (1983)
Graduate School
Washington University (1990)

Research Interest

  • Bacterial channels
  • Mechanosensation
  • mechanosensitive channels
  • Microbial homeostasis
  • Osmoregulation


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Scanning MscL Channels with Targeted Post-Translational Modifications for Functional Alterations.
Iscla I, Wray R, Eaton C, Blount P PLoS ONE 2015 10 9 e0137994
Mutations in a Conserved Domain of E. coli MscS to the Most Conserved Superfamily Residue Leads to Kinetic Changes.
Malcolm HR, Blount P PLoS ONE 2015 10 9 e0136756
The oligomeric state of the truncated mechanosensitive channel of large conductance shows no variance in vivo.
Iscla I, Wray R, Blount P Protein science : a publication of the Protein Society 2011 Jul 1638-42
Disulfide trapping the mechanosensitive channel MscL into a gating-transition state.
Iscla I, Levin G, Wray R, Blount P Biophys. J. 2007 Feb 92 4 1224-32
Mechanosensitive channel gating transitions resolved by functional changes upon pore modification.
Bartlett JL, Li Y, Blount P Biophys. J. 2006 Nov 91 10 3684-91
Lactococcus lactis uses MscL as its principal mechanosensitive channel.
Folgering JH, Moe PC, Schuurman-Wolters GK, Blount P, Poolman B J. Biol. Chem. 2005 Mar 280 10 8784-92
Pivotal role of the glycine-rich TM3 helix in gating the MscS mechanosensitive channel.
Edwards MD, Li Y, Kim S, Miller S, Bartlett W, Black S, Dennison S, Iscla I, Blount P, Bowie JU, Booth IR Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. 2005 Feb 12 2 113-9
Defining the physical gate of a mechanosensitive channel, MscL, by engineering metal-binding sites.
Iscla I, Levin G, Wray R, Reynolds R, Blount P Biophys. J. 2004 Nov 87 5 3172-80
An in vivo assay identifies changes in residue accessibility on mechanosensitive channel gating.
Bartlett JL, Levin G, Blount P Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2004 Jul 101 27 10161-5
Intragenic suppression of gain-of-function mutations in the Escherichia coli mechanosensitive channel, MscL.
Li Y, Wray R, Blount P Mol. Microbiol. 2004 Jul 53 2 485-95


Featured Books Legend Featured Books

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • Member of the American Society for Microbiology
  • Member of the Biophysical Society