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J Assoc Res Otolaryngol. 2008 Dec;9(4):452-63. doi: 10.1007/s10162-008-0134-y. Epub 2008 Jul 30.

Localization of synucleins in the mammalian cochlea.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery, University of California San Francisco, UC Hall, Room U401, 533 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94143-0449, USA.

Abstract

Synucleins are widely expressed synaptic proteins within the central nervous system that have been implicated in such neurodegenerative disorders as Parkinson's disease. In this study, an initial characterization of all three synucleins, alpha-, beta-, and gamma-synuclein, within the cochlea was undertaken. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) demonstrated all three synuclein mRNA species within microdissected cochlear tissue. Quantitative PCR suggests that beta-synuclein is the most abundantly expressed form, followed by gamma- and then alpha-synuclein. Western blot analysis similarly demonstrates all three synuclein proteins within microdissected cochlear tissue. Immunofluorescence localizes the three synucleins predominantly to the efferent neuronal system at the efferent outer hair cell synapse, with some additional localization within the efferent tunnel-crossing fibers (alpha- and gamma-synuclein), spiral ganglion (beta-synuclein), inner spiral bundle (gamma-synuclein), and stria vascularis (alpha- > beta-synuclein). Developmentally, gamma-synuclein can be seen in the region of the outer hair cells by E19, while alpha- and beta-synuclein do not clearly appear there until approximately P10. Additional studies in a null-mutant gamma-synuclein mouse show no histological changes in the organ of Corti with normal hair cell and spiral ganglion cell counts, and normal ABR and DPOAE thresholds in wild-type vs mutant littermates. Together, these results localize synucleins to the efferent cholinergic neuronal auditory system, pointing to a role in normal auditory function, and raising the potential implications for their role in auditory neurodegenerative disorders. However, gamma-synuclein alone is not required for the development and maintenance of normal hearing through P21. Whether overlapping roles of the other synucleins help compensate for the loss of gamma-synuclein remains to be determined.

PMID:
18665422
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2580813
Free PMC Article

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