Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Insight gained into age-related hearing loss

Date:
October 16, 2010
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Researchers have gained insight into how different types of age-related hearing loss may occur in humans. The discovery could eventually help physicians develop drugs to combat progressive hearing loss.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School have gained insight into how different types of age-related hearing loss may occur in humans. The discovery could eventually help physicians develop drugs to combat progressive hearing loss. Their paper is published on October 14 in the open-access journal PLoS Genetics.

James Ervasti, Ph.D., and colleague Ben Perrin, Ph.D., studied how two very closely related genes contribute to hearing function in mice. Mutations in the same genes are associated with deafness in humans. The duo discovered two key cellular processes that are required to maintain auditory function.

The genes encode proteins called β-actin and γ-actin. In humans, deafness-causing mutations have been linked to both proteins. β- and γ-actin comprise the primary structural elements of stereocilia (hair-like fibers in the ear), which convert mechanical sound energy into the nerve signals that allow humans to hear.

The two proteins are 99 percent identical; however, their slight differences have been exactly conserved through evolution from birds to mammals, suggesting that each protein may have important and distinct functions. Ervasti and Perrin tested the idea that two closely linked proteins have separate, but important, roles in hearing by knocking out each gene in mouse auditory hair cells.

They found that β-actin and γ-actin do have different maintenance functions that together keep the hair-like fibers -- that allow mice to hear -- healthy. Both knockout mice had normal hearing at young ages, but developed specific types of progressive hearing loss and stereocilia pathology that differed depending on which protein was lost.

"These separate maintenance pathways are likely important for maintaining auditory function during aging and may contribute to future understanding of common forms of age-related hearing loss in humans," Perrin said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bruce L. Tempel, Benjamin J. Perrin, Kevin J. Sonnemann, James M. Ervasti. β-Actin and γ-Actin Are Each Dispensable for Auditory Hair Cell Development But Required for Stereocilia Maintenance. PLoS Genetics, 2010; 6 (10): e1001158 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1001158

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Insight gained into age-related hearing loss." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101014171140.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2010, October 16). Insight gained into age-related hearing loss. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101014171140.htm
Public Library of Science. "Insight gained into age-related hearing loss." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101014171140.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins