"Structure and Mechanics of the Tip-Link Proteins in Auditory Receptor Cells" by David Corey (Harvard Uniiversity)

Thursday, May 4, 2017 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Physics and Astronomy Colloquium

Thursdays, 4:00-5:00 pm

1-434 Physics and Astronomy (map)
Reception from 3:30-4:00 p.m.
(unless otherwise posted)

Guest Speaker: David Corey (Stanford University)

Talk Title:  “Structure and Mechanics of the Tip-Link Proteins in Auditory Receptor Cells”


Hair cells, the receptor cells of the inner ear, convert a mechanical stimulus (sound) into a neural signal (a change in intracellular voltage) using biological strings and levers.  Mechanotransduction in these cells is mediated by a small complex of proteins at the tips of sensory cilia, which together constitute a molecular machine that can respond in microseconds to mechanical displacements of a few Angstroms by opening specific ion channels in the membrane.  This talk will focus on the biophysics of tip links (the strings), which are composed of two filamentous proteins, cadherin-23 and protocadherin-15.  We have solved the structure of the binding domains of these proteins and used steered molecular dynamics to infer mechanical properties.  The strength of the bond is tested directly by pulling on proteins with laser tweezers.  Mutations in either protein cause Usher syndrome, a hereditary deafness and blindness, and the structure gives insight into how specific mutations compromise function.

For more information, contact Jay Hauser

We thank the following people for their contributions to the wine fund for the post-colloquium reception:
Prof. Dolores Bozovic, Prof. Robijn Bruinsma, Prof. Wesley Campbell, Prof. Bob Cousins, Prof. Jay Hauser, Prof. Eric Hudson, Robert Huff, Prof. HongWen Jiang, Prof. Alex Kusenko, Prof. John Miao, Prof. George Morales, Prof. Pietro Musumeci, Prof. Christoph Niemann, Prof. Rene Ong, Prof. James Rosenzweig, Prof. David Saltzberg, Prof. Jean Turner, and Prof. Gary Williams.

1-434 PAB