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Nat Neurosci. 2007 Feb;10(2):215-23. Epub 2007 Jan 14.

Sharpened cochlear tuning in a mouse with a genetically modified tectorial membrane.

Author information

1
School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9QG, UK. I.J.Russell@sussex.ac.uk

Abstract

Frequency tuning in the cochlea is determined by the passive mechanical properties of the basilar membrane and active feedback from the outer hair cells, sensory-effector cells that detect and amplify sound-induced basilar membrane motions. The sensory hair bundles of the outer hair cells are imbedded in the tectorial membrane, a sheet of extracellular matrix that overlies the cochlea's sensory epithelium. The tectorial membrane contains radially organized collagen fibrils that are imbedded in an unusual striated-sheet matrix formed by two glycoproteins, alpha-tectorin (Tecta) and beta-tectorin (Tectb). In Tectb(-/-) mice the structure of the striated-sheet matrix is disrupted. Although these mice have a low-frequency hearing loss, basilar-membrane and neural tuning are both significantly enhanced in the high-frequency regions of the cochlea, with little loss in sensitivity. These findings can be attributed to a reduction in the acting mass of the tectorial membrane and reveal a new function for this structure in controlling interactions along the cochlea.

PMID:
17220887
PMCID:
PMC3388746
DOI:
10.1038/nn1828
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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