Microtubule and auditory function - an underestimated connection

Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2023 Mar 15:137:74-86. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2022.02.004. Epub 2022 Feb 8.


The organ of Corti, located in the cochlea within the inner ear is the receptor organ for hearing. It converts auditory signals into neuronal action potentials that are transmitted to the brain for further processing. The mature organ of Corti consists of a variety of highly differentiated sensory cells that fulfil unique tasks in the processing of auditory signals. The actin and microtubule cytoskeleton play essential function in hearing, however so far, more attention has been paid to the role of actin. Microtubules play important roles in maintaining cellular structure and intracellular transport in virtually all eukaryotic cells. Their functions are controlled by interactions with a large variety of microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) and molecular motors. Current advances show that tubulin posttranslational modifications, as well as tubulin isotypes could play key roles in modulating microtubule properties and functions in cells. These mechanisms could have various effects on the stability and functions of microtubules in the highly specialised cells of the cochlea. Here, we review the current understanding of the role of microtubule-regulating mechanisms in the function of the cochlea and their implications for hearing, which highlights the importance of microtubules in the field of hearing research.

Keywords: Cochlea; Development; Inner ear; Posttranslational modifications; Tubulin; Tubulin co-folding.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins* / metabolism
  • Hearing
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Tubulin* / metabolism


  • Tubulin
  • Actins
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins