Deletion of Tricellulin Causes Progressive Hearing Loss Associated with Degeneration of Cochlear Hair Cells

Sci Rep. 2015 Dec 18;5:18402. doi: 10.1038/srep18402.


Tricellulin (also known as MARVELD2) is considered as a central component of tricellular tight junctions and is distributed among various epithelial tissues. Although mutations in the gene encoding tricellulin are known to cause deafness in humans (DFNB49) and mice, the influence of its systemic deletion in vivo remains unknown. When we generated tricellulin-knockout mice (Tric(-/-)), we found an early-onset rapidly progressive hearing loss associated with the degeneration of hair cells (HCs); however, their body size and overall appearance were normal. Tric(-/-) mice did not show any morphological change pertaining to other organs such as the gastrointestinal tract, liver, kidney, thyroid gland and heart. The endocochlear potential (EP) was normal in Tric(-/-) mice, suggesting that the tight junction barrier is maintained in the stria vascularis, where EP is generated. The degeneration of HCs, which occurred after the maturation of EP, was prevented in the culture medium with an ion concentration similar to that of the perilymph. These data demonstrate the specific requirement of tricellulin for maintaining ion homeostasis around cochlear HCs to ensure their survival. The Tric(-/-) mouse provides a new model for understanding the distinct roles of tricellulin in different epithelial systems as well as in the pathogenesis of DFNB49.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / cytology
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / metabolism*
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / pathology
  • Hearing Loss / metabolism
  • Hearing Loss / pathology*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • MARVEL Domain Containing 2 Protein / deficiency
  • MARVEL Domain Containing 2 Protein / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Permeability
  • Stria Vascularis / metabolism
  • Tight Junctions / pathology
  • Tight Junctions / ultrastructure


  • MARVEL Domain Containing 2 Protein