RNA Therapeutics Institute
Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology | Musculoskeletal, Neural, and Ocular Physiology | Neuroscience and Neurobiology
Mechanosensory transduction (MT), the conversion of mechanical stimuli into electrical signals, underpins hearing and balance and is carried out within hair cells in the inner ear. Hair cells harbor actin-filled stereocilia, arranged in rows of descending heights, where the tips of stereocilia are connected to their taller neighbors by a filament composed of protocadherin 15 (PCDH15) and cadherin 23 (CDH23), deemed the ‘tip-link’. Tension exerted on the tip-link opens an ion channel at the tip of the shorter stereocilia, thus converting mechanical force into an electrical signal. While biochemical and structural studies have provided insights into the molecular composition and structure of isolated portions of the tip-link, the architecture, location and conformational states of intact tip-links, on stereocilia, remains unknown. Here we report in situ cryo-electron microscopy imaging of the tip-link in mouse stereocilia. We observe individual PCDH15 molecules at the tip and shaft of stereocilia and determine their stoichiometry, conformational heterogeneity, and their complexes with CDH23. The PCDH15/CDH23 complexes occur in clusters, frequently with more than one copy of PCDH15 at the tip of stereocilia, suggesting that tip-links might consist of more than one copy of the PCDH15/CDH23 heterotetramer and by extension, might include multiple MT complexes.
Neuroscience, Mechanosensory transduction, stereocilia
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DOI of Published Version
bioRxiv 2021.10.01.462800; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.10.01.462800. Link to preprint on bioRxiv.
J, Clark S, Ge J, Oregon Health & Science University, Matsui A, Gouaux E. (2021). Molecular structure and conformation of stereocilia tip-links elucidated by cryo-electron tomography [preprint]. University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.10.01.462800. Retrieved from https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/faculty_pubs/2092
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