Elizabeth S. Haswell, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Plant and Microbial Biosciences Program
Molecular Cell Biology Program
Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis Program

  • 314-935-9223

  • 314-935-9634

  • 249 McDonnell Hall

  • ehaswell@wustl.edu

  • www.haswelllab.org

  • https://twitter.com/ehaswell

  • mechanotransduction, mechanosensitive ion channels, molecular genetics, biosensor development

  • Mechanobiology with a focus on mechanosensitive ion channels

Research Abstract:

Research in the Haswell lab asks how green organisms sense and respond to physical forces. Mechanoperception, the fundamental process by which a physical stimulus is transduced into a biochemical response, is ancient, universal, and critical for cellular function of organisms across the evolutionary tree. Touch, hearing, pain, heart development, and blood volume are all regulated by mechanical forces in animals. Plants must sense gravity, water availability, pathogens, wind, and soil­–all while regulating the internal forces that govern cell shape and tissue morphogenesis. We want to know how plants accomplish these feats, how evolution has shaped their strategies, and how we might exploit these processes to address today’s most pressing global challenges. Our approaches range in scale from the atomic to the evolutionary and work synergistically to improve our understanding of all living organisms. 

The Haswell Lab is defined both by what we research, and by the environment in which we do our research. See haswelllab.org for more information!

Selected Publications:

Publications with Graduate Student Authors:

1.         A. Schlegel and E. S. Haswell. (2020). Charged pore-lining residues are required for normal channel kinetics in the eukaryotic mechanosensitive ion channel MSL1. Channels. 14:1, 310-32.

2.         Z. Deng, G. Maksaev*, A. Schlegel2*, J. Zhang, M. Rau, J. Fitzpatrick, E. S. Haswell and P. Yuan. Structural mechanism for gating of a eukaryotic mechanosensitive channel of small conductance. (2020). Nature Communications. 11(1):3690.*equal contributions. 

3.         A. M. Schlegel and E. S. Haswell. (2020). Plant Biomechanics: No Pain, No Gain for Birch Tree Stems. Current Biology. 30: R164-166

4.         A. Schlegel and E. S. Haswell. (2020). Analyzing plant mechanosensitive ion channels expressed in giant E. coli spheroplasts by single channel patch-clamp electrophysiology. For: Methods in Cell Biology. 160:61-82.

5.         J. S. Lee, M. E. Wilson, R. Richardson and E. S. Haswell. (2019). Genetic and physical interactions between mechanosensitive ion channel homologs MscS-Like (MSL)1, 2, and 3 reveal their role in intra-organellar communication. Plant Direct 3:e00124.

6.         G. Maksaev, J. Shoots, S. Ohri and E. S. Haswell. (2018). Nonpolar Residues in the Presumptive Pore-Lining Helix of Mechanosensitive Channel MSL10 Influence Channel Behavior and Confirm its Non-Conducting Function. Plant Direct 2:1–13. 

7.         E. S. Hamilton & E. S. Haswell. (2017). The Tension-sensitive Ion Transport Activity of MSL8 is Critical for its Function in Pollen Hydration and Germination. Plant Cell and Physiology, 58:1222-1237. 

8.         C. P. Lee, G. Maksaev, G. Jensen, M. Murcha, M. E. Wilson, M. Fricker, R. Hell, E. S. Haswell, A. H. Millar and L. Sweetlove. (2016). MSL1 is a mitochondrial mechanosensitive ion channel that dissipates membrane potential and maintains redox homeostasis in mitochondria during abiotic stress. Plant Journal 88:809-825. 

9.         M. E. Wilson, Matt Mixdorf, R. H. Berg and E. S. Haswell. (2016). Plastid Osmotic Shock Influences Dedifferentiation at the Plant Shoot Apex. Development 143: 3382-3393.

10.       E. S. Hamilton, G. S. Jensen, G. Maksaev, A. Katims, A.M. Sherp and E. S. Haswell. (2015). Mechanosensitive Ion Channel MSL8 Regulates Osmotic Forces During Pollen Hydration and Germination. Science 350:438-441. 

11.       E. S. Hamilton, A. Schlegel, and E. S. Haswell. (2015). United in Diversity: Plant Mechanosensitive Channels. Annual Review of Plant Biology 66:113-137. 

12.       K. M. Veley, G. Maksaev, S. M. Kloepper, E. M. Frick, E. January and E. S. Haswell. (2014). MSL10 has a Regulated Cell Death Signaling Activity that is Separable from its Mechanosensitive Ion Channel Activity. Plant Cell 26:3115-31. 

13.       M.E. Wilson, G. Maksaev, and E. S. Haswell. (2013). MscS-like Mechanosensitive Ion Channels in Plants and Microbes. Biochemistry 52 (34): 5708–5722. 

14.       M. E. Wilson and E. S. Haswell. (2012). A Role for Mechanosensitive Channels in Chloroplast and Bacterial Fission. Plant Signaling & Behavior 7:157-60. 10. M. E. Wilson, G. S. Jensen, and E. S. Haswell. (2011). Two Mechanosensitive Channel Homologs Influence FtsZ Ring Placement in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 23: 2939-2949. Featured on the cover of the May/June 2013 issue.

Last Updated: 4/23/2021 2:53:02 PM

The mechanosensitive ion channels we study are gated directly by increased lateral membrane tension.
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