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Sharpened cochlear tuning in a mouse with a genetically modified tectorial membrane
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-08, 09:58 authored by Ian J Russell, P Kevin Legan, Victoria A Lukashkina, Andrei N Lukashkin, Richard GoodyearRichard Goodyear, Guy Richardson
Frequency tuning in the cochlea is determined by the passive mechanical properties of the basilar membrane and active feedback from the outer hair cells, sensory-effector cells that detect and amplify sound-induced basilar membrane motions. The sensory hair bundles of the outer hair cells are imbedded in the tectorial membrane, a sheet of extracellular matrix that overlies the cochlea's sensory epithelium. The tectorial membrane contains radially organized collagen fibrils that are imbedded in an unusual striated-sheet matrix formed by two glycoproteins, -tectorin (Tecta) and -tectorin (Tectb). In Tectb-/- mice the structure of the striated-sheet matrix is disrupted. Although these mice have a low-frequency hearing loss, basilar-membrane and neural tuning are both significantly enhanced in the high-frequency regions of the cochlea, with little loss in sensitivity. These findings can be attributed to a reduction in the acting mass of the tectorial membrane and reveal a new function for this structure in controlling interactions along the cochlea.
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