Sheila Sharifi Rose Hills
Investigating Inner Ear Protein TMIE Using Yeast Nanobody Display Systems
The auditory system is remarkable for its ability to detect sounds across a wide range of intensities and frequencies. The molecular machinery involved in generating this range converts acoustic stimuli into electrical signals transmitted to the brain, a process known as mechanoelectrical transduction. The purpose of this research project is to achieve clarification on the basis of hearing by studying a crucial element in the transduction pathway the inner ear protein TMIE. Although TMIE has been recognized as an essential component of mechanotransduction, characterizations of its molecular structure and its mechanistic basis for mechanosensitivity have yet to be determined. In order to answer these questions, I will first establish new immunological tools that enable critical experiments for understanding the molecular signaling machinery which TMIE is involved in. My project will begin by isolating and cloning yeast expressing nanobodies that interact with TMIE. Then, I will develop expression purification techniques before embarking on biochemical characterizations of TMIE-nanobody interactions. This project is a critical first step in characterizing the structure of a TMIE-nanobody complex by utilizing X-ray crystallography and analyzing the effects of nanobodies on functional recording assays that could precedent future immunochemistry.