We report the identification of three new mouse models, baringo, nice, and stitch, with recessively inherited sensorineural deafness due to novel mutations in the transmembrane channel-like gene 1 (Tmc1). These strains were generated by N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea mutagenesis. DNA sequence analysis revealed changes in c.545A>G, c.1345T>C, and c.1661G>T, causing p.Y182C, p.Y449H, and p.W554L amino acid substitutions in baringo, nice, and stitch mutants, respectively. The mutations affect amino acid residues that are evolutionarily conserved across species. Similar to the previously reported Beethoven Tmc1 mutant, both p.Y182C and p.W554L are located outside a predicted transmembrane domain, whereas the p.Y449H mutation resides in the predicted transmembrane domain 4. Homozygous stitch-mutant mice have severe hearing loss at the age of 4 weeks and are deaf by the age of 8 weeks, whereas both baringo and nice mutants are profoundly deaf at the age of 4 weeks. None of the strains displays signs of vestibular dysfunction. Scanning electron microscopy revealed degeneration of outer hair cells in the basal region of baringo, nice, and stitch mutants. Immunolocalization studies revealed expression of TMC1 protein in the hair cells, spiral ganglion neurons, supporting cells, and stria ligament in the inner ear. Reduced levels of TMC1 protein were observed in the spiral ligament of mutants when compared with wild-type animals. These three allelic mutants provide valuable models for studying nonsyndromic recessive sensorineural hearing loss (DFNB7/11) in humans.
Copyright © 2012 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.