Function and Dysfunction of TMC Channels in Inner Ear Hair Cells

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2019 Oct 1;9(10):a033506. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a033506.


The TMC1 channel was identified as a protein essential for hearing in mouse and human, and recognized as one of a family of eight such proteins in mammals. The TMC family is part of a superfamily of seven branches, which includes the TMEM16s. Vertebrate hair cells express both TMC1 and TMC2. They are located at the tips of stereocilia and are required for hair cell mechanotransduction. TMC1 assembles as a dimer and its similarity to the TMEM16s has enabled a predicted tertiary structure with an ion conduction pore in each subunit of the dimer. Cysteine mutagenesis of the pore supports the role of TMC1 and TMC2 as the core channel proteins of a larger mechanotransduction complex that includes PCDH15 and LHFPL5, and perhaps TMIE, CIB2 and others.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hair Cells, Auditory, Inner / cytology*
  • Hair Cells, Auditory, Inner / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular*
  • Membrane Proteins / chemistry*
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Mutation


  • Membrane Proteins