Auditory mechanotransduction in the absence of functional myosin-XVa

Ruben Stepanyan, Inna A. Belyantseva, Andrew J. Griffith, Thomas B. Friedman, Gregory I. Frolenkov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


In hair cells of all vertebrates, a mechanosensory bundle is formed by stereocilia with precisely graded heights. Unconventional myosin-XVa is critical for formation of this bundle because it transports whirlin and perhaps other molecular components responsible for programmed elongation of stereocilia to the stereocilia tips. A tip of a stereocilium is the site of stereocilia growth and one of the proposed sites of mechano-electrical transduction. In adult shaker 2 mice, a mutation that disables the motor function of myosin-XVa results in profound deafness and abnormally short stereocilia that lack stereocilia links, an indispensable component of mechanotransduction machinery. Therefore, it was assumed that myosin-XVa is required for proper formation of the mechanotransduction apparatus. Here we show that in young postnatal shaker 2 mice, abnormally short stereocilia bundles of auditory hair cells have numerous stereocilia links and 'wild type'mechano-electrical transduction. We compared the mechanotransduction current in auditory hair cells of young normal-hearing littermates, myosin-XVa-deficient shaker 2 mice, and whirler mice that have similarly short stereocilia but intact myosin-XVa at the stereocilia tips. This comparison revealed that the absence of functional myosin-XVa does not disrupt adaptation of the mechanotransduction current during sustained bundle deflection. Thus, the hair cell mechanotransduction complex forms and functions independently from myosin-XVa-based hair bundle morphogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-808
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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