Biography

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.

Education

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

Research Interest

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

Publications

Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Channels in microbes: so many holes to fill.
Kung C, Blount P Mol. Microbiol. 2004 Jul 53 2 373-80
Cysteine scanning of MscL transmembrane domains reveals residues critical for mechanosensitive channel gating.
Levin G, Blount P Biophys. J. 2004 May 86 5 2862-70
Molecular mechanisms of mechanosensation: big lessons from small cells.
Blount P Neuron 2003 Mar 37 5 731-4
Family ties of gated pores: evolution of the sensor module.
Kumánovics A, Levin G, Blount P FASEB J. 2002 Oct 16 12 1623-9
Functional design of bacterial mechanosensitive channels. Comparisons and contrasts illuminated by random mutagenesis.
Okada K, Moe PC, Blount P J. Biol. Chem. 2002 Aug 277 31 27682-8
How do membrane proteins sense water stress?
Poolman B, Blount P, Folgering JH, Friesen RH, Moe PC, van der Heide T Mol. Microbiol. 2002 May 44 4 889-902
Correlating a protein structure with function of a bacterial mechanosensitive channel.
Moe PC, Levin G, Blount P J. Biol. Chem. 2000 Oct 275 40 31121-7
Hydrophilicity of a single residue within MscL correlates with increased channel mechanosensitivity.
Yoshimura K, Batiza A, Schroeder M, Blount P, Kung C Biophys. J. 1999 Oct 77 4 1960-72
Bacterial mechanosensitive channels: integrating physiology, structure and function.
Blount P, Moe PC Trends Microbiol. 1999 Oct 7 10 420-4
Mechanosensitive channels of bacteria.
Blount P, Sukharev SI, Moe PC, Martinac B, Kung C Meth. Enzymol. 1999 294 458-82

Books

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Professional Associations/Affiliations

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