Harmonin Mutations Cause Mechanotransduction Defects in Cochlear Hair Cells

Department of Cell Biology, Institute for Childhood and Neglected Disease, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.
Neuron (Impact Factor: 15.98). 06/2009; 62(3):375-87. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2009.04.006
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In hair cells, mechanotransduction channels are gated by tip links, the extracellular filaments that consist of cadherin 23 (CDH23) and protocadherin 15 (PCDH15) and connect the stereocilia of each hair cell. However, which molecules mediate cadherin function at tip links is not known. Here we show that the PDZ-domain protein harmonin is a component of the upper tip-link density (UTLD), where CDH23 inserts into the stereociliary membrane. Harmonin domains that mediate interactions with CDH23 and F-actin control harmonin localization in stereocilia and are necessary for normal hearing. In mice expressing a mutant harmonin protein that prevents UTLD formation, the sensitivity of hair bundles to mechanical stimulation is reduced. We conclude that harmonin is a UTLD component and contributes to establishing the sensitivity of mechanotransduction channels to displacement.

1 Follower
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cochlear hair cells convert sound stimuli into electrical signals by gating of mechanically sensitive ion channels in their stereociliary (hair) bundle. The molecular identity of this ion channel is still unclear, but its properties are modulated by accessory proteins. Two such proteins are transmembrane channel-like protein isoform 1 (TMC1) and tetraspan membrane protein of hair cell stereocilia (TMHS, also known as lipoma HMGIC fusion partner-like 5, LHFPL5), both thought to be integral components of the mechanotransduction machinery. Here we show that, in mice harboring an Lhfpl5 null mutation, the unitary conductance of outer hair cell mechanotransducer (MT) channels was reduced relative to wild type, and the tonotopic gradient in conductance, where channels from the cochlear base are nearly twice as conducting as those at the apex, was almost absent. The macroscopic MT current in these mutants was attenuated and the tonotopic gradient in amplitude was also lost, although the current was not completely extinguished. The consequences of Lhfpl5 mutation mirror those due to Tmc1 mutation, suggesting a part of the MT-channel conferring a large and tonotopically variable conductance is similarly disrupted in the absence of Lhfpl5 or Tmc1. Immunolabelling demonstrated TMC1 throughout the stereociliary bundles in wild type but not in Lhfpl5 mutants, implying the channel effect of Lhfpl5 mutations stems from down-regulation of TMC1. Both LHFPL5 and TMC1 were shown to interact with protocadherin-15, a component of the tip link, which applies force to the MT channel. We propose that titration of the TMC1 content of the MT channel sets the gradient in unitary conductance along the cochlea.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 12/2014; 112(5). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1420906112 · 9.81 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Hearing depends on sound-evoked deflections of the stereocilia that protrude from the sensory hair cells in the inner ear. Although sound provides an important force driving stereocilia, forces generated through mechanically sensitive ion channels and through the motor protein prestin have been shown to influence stereocilia motion in solitary hair cells. While a possible influence of prestin on mechanically sensitive ion channels has not been systematically investigated, a decrease in transducer currents is evident in solitary hair cells when prestin is blocked with salicylate, raising the question of whether a reduced prestin activity or salicylate itself affected the mechanotransduction apparatus. We used two- and three-dimensional time-resolved confocal imaging to visualize outer hair cell stereocilia during sound stimulation in the apical turn of cochlear explant preparations from the guinea pig. Surprisingly, following application of salicylate, outer hair cell stereocilia deflections increased, while cochlear microphonic potentials decreased. However, when prestin activity was altered with the chloride ionophore tributyltin, both the cochlear microphonic potential and the stereocilia deflection amplitude decreased. Neither positive nor negative current stimulation abolished the bundle movements in the presence of salicylate, indicating that the observed effects did not depend on the endocochlear potential. These data suggest that salicylate may alter the mechanical properties of stereocilia, decreasing their bending stiffness.
    Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology 11/2014; DOI:10.1007/s00424-014-1646-4 · 3.07 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Usher syndrome (USH), clinically and genetically heterogeneous, is the leading genetic cause of combined hearing and vision loss. USH is classified into three types, based on the hearing and vestibular symptoms observed in patients. Sixteen loci have been reported to be involved in the occurrence of USH and atypical USH. Among them, twelve have been identified as causative genes and one as a modifier gene. Studies on the proteins encoded by these USH genes suggest that USH proteins interact among one another and function in multiprotein complexes in vivo. Although their exact functions remain enigmatic in the retina, USH proteins are required for the development, maintenance and function of hair bundles, which are the primary mechanosensitive structure of inner ear hair cells. Despite the unavailability of a cure, progress has been made to develop effective treatments for this disease. In this review, we focus on the most recent discoveries in the field with an emphasis on USH genes, protein complexes and functions in various tissues as well as progress toward therapeutic development for USH. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier B.V.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular Basis of Disease 12/2014; 1852(3). DOI:10.1016/j.bbadis.2014.11.020 · 5.09 Impact Factor


Available from
May 28, 2014