Abstract Cholesterol is a critical regulator of lipid bilayer dynamics and plasma membrane organization in eukaryotes. A variety of ion channels have been shown to be modulated by cellular cholesterol and partition into cholesterol-enriched membrane rafts. However, very little is known about functional role of membrane cholesterol in regulation of mechanically gated channels that are ubiquitously present in living cells. In our previous study, the effect of methyl-beta-cyclodextrin (MbCD), cholesterol-sequestering agent, on Ca 2+-permeable stretch-activated cation channels (SACs) has been described. Here, cell-attached patch-clamp method was employed to search for the mechanisms of cholesterol-dependent regulation of SACs and to clarify functional contribution of lipid bilayer and submembranous cytoskeleton to channel gating. Cholesterol-depleting treatment with MbCD significantly decreased open probability of SACs whereas alpha-cyclodextrin had no effect. F-actin disassembly fully restored high level of SAC activity in cholesterol-depleted cells. Particularly, treatment with cytochalasin D or latrunculin B abrogated inhibitory effect of MbCD on stretch-activated currents. Single channel analysis and fluorescent imaging methods indicate that inhibition of SACs after cholesterol depletion is mediated via actin remodeling initiated by disruption of lipid rafts. Our data reveal a novel mechanism of channel regulation by membrane cholesterol and lipid rafts.