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Lindy Hop and Charleston Routine about phosducin for "Dance Your PhD 2009"





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Uploaded on Nov 9, 2008

"Dance your PhD 2009" contest entry
Rachelle Gaudet

Michael Richters (aka transducin beta-gamma) and I (aka phosducin) use Lindy Hop and Charleston to illustrate my PhD thesis: Structural analysis of phosducin and its phosphorylation-regulated interaction with transducin beta-gamma. These proteins function in our eyes, as part of the retinal proteins that transmit visual signals to the brain. In a bright environment, phosducin binds to transducin beta-gamma and the two are found in the cytoplasm. Upon dark-adaptation, phosducin becomes phosphorylated, while transducin beta-gamma returns to the cellular membranes to increase the responses to small amounts of light.

During my PhD, I determined the crystal structure of the complex of phosducin and transducin beta-gamma. In this complex, phosducin's N-terminal half interacts extensively with beta-gamma, illustrated in our Lindy Hop dance, a partner dance which relies on intricate lead-follow technique. We dance the Lindy Hop under bright lights in the back of the room, because the complex phosducin/transducin beta-gamma forms when our eyes are adapted to bright light. When eyes adapt to the dark (illustrated by our transition to the darkened front of the room), phosducin is released from beta-gamma and becomes phosphorylated (represented by the hat). In the second half of my thesis project, I went on to show that phosphorylated phosducin has a particularly flexible or mobile N-terminal half. This is illustrated by the solo Charleston dance, which features big arm movements. Upon return to the light, phosducin loses its phosphorylation and returns to its interaction with beta-gamma. The dark-light cycles continue until beta-gamma is targeted for destruction. Finally, the song choice speaks for itself!

If you like this video, you might also like this one, illustrating some of my lab's current research:


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