This gene is a member of the cadherin superfamily. Family members encode integral membrane proteins that mediate calcium-dependent cell-cell adhesion. The protein product of this gene consists of a signal peptide, 11 extracellular calcium-binding domains, a transmembrane domain and a unique cytoplasmic domain. It plays an essential role in maintenance of normal retinal and cochlear function. Mutations in this gene have been associated with hearing loss, which is consistent with its location at the Usher syndrome type 1F (USH1F) critical region on chromosome 10.