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Simulation of Stretched Protein


Simulation showing close-up view of the linker region between cadherin-23, a molecule

A close-up view of the linker region between cadherin-23, a molecule, is shown during a molecular dynamics simulation in which the protein is stretched from both ends. The simulations mimic in vivo conditions in which tiplink (filiments in the hairs cells of the inner ear) cadherins are stretched during sound mechanotransduction at hair cells of the inner ear. Calcium ions (shown as green spheres) were found to be essential for the mechanical stability of the protein (shown in cartoon and sticks).

While little is known about the protein molecules involved in touch and auditory function, a team from Harvard University has resolved the atomic-level structure of a protein essential for sound perception. The structure was then simulated using TeraGrid supercomputers to determine how it functions in hearing and deafness. The molecular dynamics simulation pictured here was performed at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TAAC) and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), which are both National Science Foundation-supported supercomputer centers. The computer time was obtained through a grant from the TeraGrid project.

To learn more about this research, see the TeraGrid Science Highlights 2010 story, "Decoding Deafness," on page 24 Here. (Date of Image: March 2010)

Credit: Courtesy: Marcos Sotomayor, HHMI and Neurobiology Department, Harvard Medical School. [M. Sotomayor, W.A. Weihofen, R. Gaudet, and D.P. Corey (2010) "Structural Determinants of Cadherin-23 Function in Hearing and Deafness" Neuron, 66:85-100.]

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