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Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2009 Oct;17(5):388-93. doi: 10.1097/MOO.0b013e3283303472.

Tip links in hair cells: molecular composition and role in hearing loss.

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1
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan.

Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW:

Tip links are thought to be an essential element of the mechanoelectrical transduction (MET) apparatus in sensory hair cells of the inner ear. The molecules that form tip links have recently been identified, and the analysis of their properties has not only changed our view of MET but also suggests that tip-link defects can cause hearing loss.

RECENT FINDINGS:

Structural, histological and biochemical studies show that the extracellular domains of two deafness-associated cadherins, cadherin 23 (CDH23) and protocadherin 15 (PCDH15), interact in trans to form the upper and lower part of each tip link, respectively. High-speed Ca imaging suggests that MET channels are localized exclusively at the lower end of each tip link. Biochemical and genetic studies provide evidence that defects in tip links cause hearing impairment in humans.

SUMMARY:

The identification of the proteins that form tip links have shed new light on the molecular basis of MET and the mechanisms causing hereditary deafness, noise-induced hearing loss and presbycusis.

PMID:
19633555
PMCID:
PMC2921850
DOI:
10.1097/MOO.0b013e3283303472
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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