The roles of unconventional myosins in hearing and deafness

Essays Biochem. 2000;35:159-74. doi: 10.1042/bse0350159.


The proper expression and function of several unconventional myosins are necessary for inner-ear function. Mutations in MYO7A and MYO15 cause deafness in humans, and mice. Whereas mutations in Myo6 cause inner-ear abnormalities in mice, as yet no human deafness has been found to the result of mutations in MYO6. In the mammalian inner ear there are at least nine different unconventional myosin isozymes expressed. Myosin 1 beta, VI, VIIa and probably XV are all expressed within a single cell in the inner ear, the hair cell. The myosin isozymes expressed in the hair cell all have unique domains of expression and in some areas, such as the pericuticular necklace, several domains overlap. This suggests that these myosins all have unique functions and that all are individually targeted within the hair cell. The mouse is proving to be a useful model organism for studying both human deafness and elucidating the normal functions of unconventional myosins in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Deafness / genetics
  • Deafness / physiopathology*
  • Dyneins
  • Hearing / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Myosin VIIa
  • Myosins / genetics
  • Myosins / physiology*
  • Postural Balance


  • MYO7A protein, human
  • Myo7a protein, mouse
  • Myosin VIIa
  • Myosins
  • Dyneins