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MBI seminar: Talin mediated force transmission and mechanosensing by A/Prof Yan Jie

Date:     29 Jan 2016, Friday
Time:     9:30am
Venue:   T-Lab Level 5 Seminar Room
Presenter: A/Prof Yan Jie

Cells adhere to extracellular matrix (ECM) through focal adhesion. Talin is a cytoplasmic adapter protein that links the actin cytoskeleton to focal adhesion, playing a central role in regulation of cell spreading and migration. Talin’s functions depend on the binding of talin rod domains to a cytoplasmic protein vinculin in a force dependent manner. By stretching full-length talin rod using magnetic tweezers, we have determined the force-dependent unfolding and refolding rates of subdomains in talin rod. Kinetics simulations based on these rates have revealed that talin rod can serve as a force buffer, capable of maintaining tension in talin in a range of 5-10 pN over a wide range of extension change of talin rod from 50 nm to 400 nm. Further, this level of force is found able to expose the cryptic vinculin-binding sites, promoting subsequent binding of the head domain of vinculin with a nano Molar affinity. Such a force-sensitive interaction between talin rod and vinculin is described by a force-dependent dissociation constant derived based on the mechanical stability of the talin rod domains. Together, these results provide new insights into the mechanosensing at focal adhesion that is crucial for cells to sense and respond to their microenvironments.

Prof Yan Jie awarded American Physical Society (APS) Fellowship for 2015

We are pleased to announce that MBI/CBIS Principal Investigator, Assoc Prof Yan Jie, has been awarded an American Physical Society (APS) Fellowship for 2015.

Dr Yan in the lab

APS Fellowships are given to scientists in recognition of their significant contributions to physics, in areas including education, research and industrial applications. In this regard, Dr Yan has received the fellowship for his exceptional contributions to the study of micro mechanics of bio-polymers.

Trained as a theoretical physicist, Dr Yan developed a keen interest in studying the mechanical regulation of several biological processes, in eukaryotes as well as in bacteria and viruses. At NUS, Dr Yan has successfully combined the use of state-of-the-art single molecule manipulation methods and imaging techniques with complex theoretical modeling to understand how the structural organization and functions of macro-molecules, such as DNA and proteins, and the dynamics of inter-molecular interactions between them are influenced by external as well as cellular forces.

Find out more from APS Physics.  Read more about Dr Yan’s research. Visit Dr Yan’s labsite Single Molecule Biophysics.

Source: SciComms, MBI