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PLoS One. 2010 Jan 7;5(1):e8627. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008627.

HCN channels are not required for mechanotransduction in sensory hair cells of the mouse inner ear.

Author information

  • 1Department of Neuroscience, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, Virginia, United States of America.

Abstract

The molecular composition of the hair cell transduction channel has not been identified. Here we explore the novel hypothesis that hair cell transduction channels include HCN subunits. The HCN family of ion channels includes four members, HCN1-4. They were originally identified as the molecular correlates of the hyperpolarization-activated, cyclic nucleotide gated ion channels that carry currents known as If, IQ or Ih. However, based on recent evidence it has been suggested that HCN subunits may also be components of the elusive hair cell transduction channel. To investigate this hypothesis we examined expression of mRNA that encodes HCN1-4 in sensory epithelia of the mouse inner ear, immunolocalization of HCN subunits 1, 2 and 4, uptake of the transduction channel permeable dye, FM1-43 and electrophysiological measurement of mechanotransduction current. Dye uptake and transduction current were assayed in cochlear and vestibular hair cells of wildtype mice exposed to HCN channel blockers or a dominant-negative form of HCN2 that contained a pore mutation and in mutant mice that lacked HCN1, HCN2 or both. We found robust expression of HCNs 1, 2 and 4 but little evidence that localized HCN subunits in hair bundles, the site of mechanotransduction. Although high concentrations of the HCN antagonist, ZD7288, blocked 50-70% of the transduction current, we found no reduction of transduction current in either cochlear or vestibular hair cells of HCN1- or HCN2- deficient mice relative to wild-type mice. Furthermore, mice that lacked both HCN1 and HCN2 also had normal transduction currents. Lastly, we found that mice exposed to the dominant-negative mutant form of HCN2 had normal transduction currents as well. Taken together, the evidence suggests that HCN subunits are not required for mechanotransduction in hair cells of the mouse inner ear.

PMID:
20062532
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2797612
Free PMC Article

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