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  Macromolecular and electrical coupling between inner hair cells in the rodent cochlea

Jean, P., Anttonen, T., Michanski, S., de Diego, A. M. G., Steyer, A. M., Neef, A., et al. (2020). Macromolecular and electrical coupling between inner hair cells in the rodent cochlea. Nature Communications, 11: 3208. doi:10.1038/s41467-020-17003-z.

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 Creators:
Jean, P., Author
Anttonen, T., Author
Michanski, S., Author
de Diego, A. M. G., Author
Steyer, A. M., Author
Neef, A., Author
Oestreicher, D., Author
Kroll, J., Author
Nardis, C., Author
Pangršič, T., Author
Möbius, W., Author
Ashmore, J., Author
Wichmann, C., Author
Moser, T.1, Author              
Affiliations:
1Research Group of Synaptic Nanophysiology, MPI for Biophysical Chemistry, Max Planck Society, ou_2205655              

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Free keywords: Cell biology; Neuroscience
 Abstract: Inner hair cells (IHCs) are the primary receptors for hearing. They are housed in the cochlea and convey sound information to the brain via synapses with the auditory nerve. IHCs have been thought to be electrically and metabolically independent from each other. We report that, upon developmental maturation, in mice 30% of the IHCs are electrochemically coupled in ‘mini-syncytia’. This coupling permits transfer of fluorescently-labeled metabolites and macromolecular tracers. The membrane capacitance, Ca2+-current, and resting current increase with the number of dye-coupled IHCs. Dual voltage-clamp experiments substantiate low resistance electrical coupling. Pharmacology and tracer permeability rule out coupling by gap junctions and purinoceptors. 3D electron microscopy indicates instead that IHCs are coupled by membrane fusion sites. Consequently, depolarization of one IHC triggers presynaptic Ca2+-influx at active zones in the entire mini-syncytium. Based on our findings and modeling, we propose that IHC-mini-syncytia enhance sensitivity and reliability of cochlear sound encoding.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2020-06-25
 Publication Status: Published online
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 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-17003-z
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Title: Nature Communications
Source Genre: Journal
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Pages: - Volume / Issue: 11 Sequence Number: 3208 Start / End Page: - Identifier: -