Tmc2 expression partially restores auditory function in a mouse model of DFNB7/B11 deafness caused by loss of Tmc1 function

Sci Rep. 2018 Aug 14;8(1):12125. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-29709-8.


Mouse Tmc1 and Tmc2 are required for sensory transduction in cochlear and vestibular hair cells. Homozygous Tmc1∆/∆ mice are deaf, Tmc2∆/∆ mice have normal hearing, and double homozygous Tmc1∆/∆; Tmc2∆/∆ mice have deafness and profound vestibular dysfunction. These phenotypes are consistent with their different spatiotemporal expression patterns. Tmc1 expression is persistent in cochlear and vestibular hair cells, whereas Tmc2 expression is transient in cochlear hair cells but persistent in vestibular hair cells. On the basis of these findings, we hypothesized that persistent Tmc2 expression in mature cochlear hair cells could restore auditory function in Tmc1∆/∆ mice. To express Tmc2 in mature cochlear hair cells, we generated a transgenic mouse line, Tg[PTmc1::Tmc2], in which Tmc2 cDNA is expressed under the control of the Tmc1 promoter. The Tg[PTmc1::Tmc2] transgene slightly but significantly restored hearing in young Tmc1∆/∆ mice, though hearing thresholds were elevated with age. The elevation of hearing thresholds was associated with deterioration of sensory transduction in inner hair cells and loss of outer hair cell function. Although sensory transduction was retained in outer hair cells, their stereocilia eventually degenerated. These results indicate distinct roles and requirements for Tmc1 and Tmc2 in mature cochlear hair cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / cytology
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / metabolism
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / pathology*
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / ultrastructure
  • Hair Cells, Vestibular / metabolism
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / diagnosis
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / genetics
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / pathology*
  • Hearing Tests
  • Homozygote
  • Humans
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Mutation
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Stereocilia / pathology*
  • Stereocilia / ultrastructure


  • Membrane Proteins
  • TMC1 protein, mouse
  • TMC2 protein, mouse

Supplementary concepts

  • Deafness, Autosomal Recessive 7