Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Better understanding of inherited hearing loss

Date:
October 16, 2013
Source:
Université de Montréal
Summary:
A team of researchers made an important discovery that could better explain some inherited forms of hearing loss in humans. Scientists identified a group of proteins crucial for shaping the cellular organ responsible for detecting sounds.

Aerial surface view of two neighbouring hair cells in the inner ear. On the surface of these developing mouse cells, large stereocilia can be noticed forming a V-shaped brush pointing upwards. The visualization technique used to capture this image is scanning electron microscopy, which allows us to see the morphology of the cell surface at high resolution.
Credit: © IRCM

A team of researchers led by Dr. Michel Cayouette made an important discovery, published online yesterday by the scientific journal Developmental Cell, that could better explain some inherited forms of hearing loss in humans. Dr. Michel Cayouette is a professor at the IRCM and Université de Montréal, The Montréal scientists identified a group of proteins crucial for shaping the cellular organ responsible for detecting sounds.

For a human to hear, sound-induced vibrations in the inner ear must first be transformed into electrical impulses before they can be relayed to the brain. This transformation is performed by "hair cells" (or sensory cells) located in the inner ear. On the surface of these cells, microscopic hair-like protrusions known as stereocilia act as specialized sensors to detect vibrations.

"During embryonic development, these stereocilia develop into a characteristic V-shaped brush," says Dr. Cayouette, Director of the Cellular Neurobiology research unit at the IRCM. "In addition, all cells orient their brush with the V pointing in the same direction. This polarized organization is critical for sensory function, but remains poorly understood."

"We studied a group of proteins known to control cell division in the organism and discovered a new role they play in the auditory system," explains Dr. Basile Tarchini, postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Cayouette's laboratory and first author of the study. "We showed that these proteins occupy a specific region at the cell surface to define the exact placement of stereocilia and enable the creation of the V-shaped brush."

"Furthermore, we discovered that one of the proteins is also required for coordinating the orientation of the brushes among neighbouring cells, thereby ensuring that the V formed by each brush points in the same direction," adds Dr. Tarchini. "Our results strongly suggest, for the first time, that this group of proteins could be the link between two important molecular mechanisms: the system responsible for the placement of stereocilia into a V-shaped brush at the cell surface, and the system that orients this V-shaped structure in the surrounding tissue."

"Recent studies show that mutations in one of the proteins we studied are associated with inherited forms of hearing loss in humans," concludes Dr. Cayouette. "By defining a function for this class of proteins in hair cells, our work helps explain the mechanisms that could cause these conditions."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Université de Montréal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Basile Tarchini, Christine Jolicoeur, Michel Cayouette. A Molecular Blueprint at the Apical Surface Establishes Planar Asymmetry in Cochlear Hair Cells. Developmental Cell, 2013; 27 (1): 88 DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2013.09.011

Cite This Page:

Université de Montréal. "Better understanding of inherited hearing loss." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131016122034.htm>.
Université de Montréal. (2013, October 16). Better understanding of inherited hearing loss. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131016122034.htm
Université de Montréal. "Better understanding of inherited hearing loss." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131016122034.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Calling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a potential threat to global security, President Barack Obama is ordering 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the stricken region amid worries that the outbreak is spiraling out of control. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Nearly $1.0 billion dollars is needed to fight the Ebola outbreak raging in west Africa, the United Nations say, warning that 20,000 could be infected by year end. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — President Obama is ordering U.S. military personnel to West Africa to deal with the Ebola outbreak, which is he calls a potential threat to global security. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
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