The mechanical response of talin

Mingxi Yao, Benjamin T. Goult, Benjamin Klapholz, Xian Hu, Christopher P. Toseland, Yingjian Guo, Peiwen Cong, Michael P. Sheetz, Jie Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


Talin, a force-bearing cytoplasmic adapter essential for integrin-mediated cell adhesion, links the actin cytoskeleton to integrin-based cell-extracellular matrix adhesions at the plasma membrane. Its C-terminal rod domain, which contains 13 helical bundles, plays important roles in mechanosensing during cell adhesion and spreading. However, how the structural stability and transition kinetics of the 13 helical bundles of talin are utilized in the diverse talin-dependent mechanosensing processes remains poorly understood. Here we report the force-dependent unfolding and refolding kinetics of all talin rod domains. Using experimentally determined kinetics parameters, we determined the dynamics of force fluctuation during stretching of talin under physiologically relevant pulling speeds and experimentally measured extension fluctuation trajectories. Our results reveal that force-dependent stochastic unfolding and refolding of talin rod domains make talin a very effective force buffer that sets a physiological force range of only a few pNs in the talin-mediated force transmission pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11966
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - Jul 7 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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