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NompC TRP Channel Required for Vertebrate Sensory Hair Cell Mechanotransduction

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Science  04 Jul 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5629, pp. 96-99
DOI: 10.1126/science.1084370

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Abstract

The senses of hearing and balance in vertebrates rely on the sensory hair cells (HCs) of the inner ear. The central element of the HC's transduction apparatus is a mechanically gated ion channel of unknown identity. Here we report that the zebrafish ortholog of Drosophila no mechanoreceptor potential C (nompC), which encodes a transient receptor potential (TRP) channel, is critical for HC mechanotransduction. In zebrafish larvae, nompC is selectively expressed in sensory HCs. Morpholino-mediated removal of nompC function eliminated transduction-dependent endocytosis and electrical responses in HCs, resulting in larval deafness and imbalance. These observations indicate that nompC encodes a vertebrate HC mechanotransduction channel.

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