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J Cell Sci. 2006 Jul 15;119(Pt 14):2975-84. Epub 2006 Jun 27.

Thyroid hormone receptors TRalpha1 and TRbeta differentially regulate gene expression of Kcnq4 and prestin during final differentiation of outer hair cells.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Tübingen Hearing Research Centre (THRC), Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology, University of Tübingen, Elfriede-Aulhorn-Strasse 5, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.


Thyroid hormone (TH or T3) and TH-receptor beta (TRbeta) have been reported to be relevant for cochlear development and hearing function. Mutations in the TRbeta gene result in deafness associated with resistance to TH syndrome. The effect of TRalpha1 on neither hearing function nor cochlear T3 target genes has been described to date. It is also uncertain whether TRalpha1 and TRbeta can act simultaneously on different target genes within a single cell. We focused on two concomitantly expressed outer hair cell genes, the potassium channel Kcnq4 and the motor protein prestin Slc26a5. In outer hair cells, TH enhanced the expression of the prestin gene through TRbeta. Simultaneously Kcnq4 expression was activated in the same cells by derepression of TRalpha1 aporeceptors mediated by an identified THresponse element, which modulates KCNQ4 promoter activity. We show that T3 target genes can differ in their sensitivity to TH receptors having the ligand either bound (holoreceptors) or not bound (aporeceptors) within single cells, and suggest a role for TRalpha1 in final cell differentiation.

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