CNGA3 is expressed in inner ear hair cells and binds to an intracellular C-terminus domain of EMILIN1

Biochem J. 2012 Apr 15;443(2):463-76. doi: 10.1042/BJ20111255.


The molecular characteristics of CNG (cyclic nucleotide-gated) channels in auditory/vestibular hair cells are largely unknown, unlike those of CNG mediating sensory transduction in vision and olfaction. In the present study we report the full-length sequence for three CNGA3 variants in a hair cell preparation from the trout saccule with high identity to CNGA3 in olfactory receptor neurons/cone photoreceptors. A custom antibody targeting the N-terminal sequence immunolocalized CNGA3 to the stereocilia and subcuticular plate region of saccular hair cells. The cytoplasmic C-terminus of CNGA3 was found by yeast two-hybrid analysis to bind the C-terminus of EMILIN1 (elastin microfibril interface-located protein 1) in both the vestibular hair cell model and rat organ of Corti. Specific binding between CNGA3 and EMILIN1 was confirmed with surface plasmon resonance analysis, predicting dependence on Ca2+ with Kd=1.6×10-6 M for trout hair cell proteins and Kd=2.7×10-7 M for organ of Corti proteins at 68 μM Ca2+. Pull-down assays indicated that the binding to organ of Corti CNGA3 was attributable to the EMILIN1 intracellular sequence that follows a predicted transmembrane domain in the C-terminus. Saccular hair cells also express the transcript for PDE6C (phosphodiesterase 6C), which in cone photoreceptors regulates the degradation of cGMP used to gate CNGA3 in phototransduction. Taken together, the evidence supports the existence in saccular hair cells of a molecular pathway linking CNGA3, its binding partner EMILIN1 (and β1 integrin) and cGMP-specific PDE6C, which is potentially replicated in cochlear outer hair cells, given stereociliary immunolocalizations of CNGA3, EMILIN1 and PDE6C.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 6 / metabolism
  • Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Cation Channels / chemistry
  • Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Cation Channels / genetics
  • Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Cation Channels / metabolism*
  • Hair Cells, Auditory, Inner / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Binding
  • Rats
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Trout / metabolism*


  • Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Cation Channels
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • elastin microfibril interface located protein
  • Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 6

Associated data

  • GENBANK/HQ542177
  • GENBANK/HQ542178
  • GENBANK/HQ542179