Mutations in human GRXCR2, which encodes a protein of undetermined function, cause hearing loss by unknown mechanisms. We found that mouse GRXCR2 localizes to the base of the stereocilia, which are actin-based mechanosensing organelles in cochlear hair cells that convert sound-induced vibrations into electrical signals. The stereocilia base also contains taperin, another protein of unknown function required for human hearing. We show that taperin and GRXCR2 form a complex and that taperin is diffused throughout the stereocilia length in Grxcr2-deficient hair cells. Stereocilia lacking GRXCR2 are longer than normal and disorganized due to the mislocalization of taperin, which could modulate the actin cytoskeleton in stereocilia. Remarkably, reducing taperin expression levels could rescue the morphological defects of stereocilia and restore the hearing of Grxcr2-deficient mice. Thus, our findings suggest that GRXCR2 is critical for the morphogenesis of stereocilia and auditory perception by restricting taperin to the stereocilia base.
Keywords: GRXCR2; auditory perception; deafness; hair cell; hearing loss; morphogenesis; stereocilia; taperin.
Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.