Tectorial membrane travelling waves underlie abnormal hearing in Tectb mutant mice

Roozbeh Ghaffari, Alexander J. Aranyosi, Guy P. Richardson, Dennis M. Freeman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    62 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Remarkable sensitivity and exquisite frequency selectivity are hallmarks of mammalian hearing, but their underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Cochlear insults and hearing disorders that decrease sensitivity also tend to broaden tuning, suggesting that these properties are linked. However, a recently developed mouse model of genetically altered hearing (Tectb-/-) shows decreased sensitivity and sharper frequency selectivity. In this paper, we show that the Tectb mutation reduces the spatial extent and propagation velocity of tectorial membrane (TM) travelling waves and that these changes in wave propagation are likely to account for all of the hearing abnormalities associated with the mutation. By reducing the spatial extent of TM waves, the Tectb mutation decreases the spread of excitation and thereby increases frequency selectivity. Furthermore, the change in TM wave velocity reduces the number of hair cells that effectively couple energy to the basilar membrane, which reduces sensitivity. These results highlight the importance of TM waves in hearing.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number96
    JournalNature communications
    Volume1
    Issue number7
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2010

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Chemistry(all)
    • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
    • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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