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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Aug 20;110(34):13898-903. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1304644110. Epub 2013 Aug 5.

Progressive hearing loss and gradual deterioration of sensory hair bundles in the ears of mice lacking the actin-binding protein Eps8L2.

Author information

1
Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine, Keele University, Keele ST5 5BG, United Kingdom.

Abstract

Mechanotransduction in the mammalian auditory system depends on mechanosensitive channels in the hair bundles that project from the apical surface of the sensory hair cells. Individual stereocilia within each bundle contain a core of tightly packed actin filaments, whose length is dynamically regulated during development and in the adult. We show that the actin-binding protein epidermal growth factor receptor pathway substrate 8 (Eps8)L2, a member of the Eps8-like protein family, is a newly identified hair bundle protein that is localized at the tips of stereocilia of both cochlear and vestibular hair cells. It has a spatiotemporal expression pattern that complements that of Eps8. In the cochlea, whereas Eps8 is essential for the initial elongation of stereocilia, Eps8L2 is required for their maintenance in adult hair cells. In the absence of both proteins, the ordered staircase structure of the hair bundle in the cochlea decays. In contrast to the early profound hearing loss associated with an absence of Eps8, Eps8L2 null-mutant mice exhibit a late-onset, progressive hearing loss that is directly linked to a gradual deterioration in hair bundle morphology. We conclude that Eps8L2 is required for the long-term maintenance of the staircase structure and mechanosensory function of auditory hair bundles. It complements the developmental role of Eps8 and is a candidate gene for progressive age-related hearing loss.

KEYWORDS:

deafness; ion channel; sensory system

PMID:
23918390
PMCID:
PMC3752214
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1304644110
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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