Prestin is the motor protein of cochlear outer hair cells

Jing Zheng, Weixing Shen, David Z.Z. He, Kevin B. Long, Laird D. Madison, Peter Dallos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1038 Scopus citations


The outer and inner hair cells of the mammalian cochlea perform different functions. In response to changes in membrane potential, the cylindrical outer hair cell rapidly alters its length and stiffness. These mechanical changes, driven by putative molecular motors, are assumed to produce amplification of vibrations in the cochlea that are transduced by inner hair cells. Here we have identified an abundant complementary DNA from a gene, designated Prestin, which is specifically expressed in outer hair cells. Regions of the encoded protein show moderate sequence similarity to pendrin and related sulphate/anion transport proteins. Voltage-induced shape changes can be elicited in cultured human kidney cells that express prestin. The mechanical response of outer hair cells to voltage change is accompanied by a 'gating current', which is manifested as nonlinear capacitance. We also demonstrate this nonlinear capacitance in transfected kidney cells. We conclude that prestin is the motor protein of the cochlear outer hair cell.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-155
Number of pages7
Issue number6783
StatePublished - May 11 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Prestin is the motor protein of cochlear outer hair cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this