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Science 301 (5629): 96-99

Copyright © 2003 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

NompC TRP Channel Required for Vertebrate Sensory Hair Cell Mechanotransduction

Samuel Sidi,1 Rainer W. Friedrich,2 Teresa Nicolson1*{ddagger}

Abstract: The senses of hearing and balance in vertebrates rely on the sensory hair cells (HCs) of the inner ear. The central element of the HC's transduction apparatus is a mechanically gated ion channel of unknown identity. Here we report that the zebrafish ortholog of Drosophila no mechanoreceptor potential C (nompC), which encodes a transient receptor potential (TRP) channel, is critical for HC mechanotransduction. In zebrafish larvae, nompC is selectively expressed in sensory HCs. Morpholino-mediated removal of nompC function eliminated transduction-dependent endocytosis and electrical responses in HCs, resulting in larval deafness and imbalance. These observations indicate that nompC encodes a vertebrate HC mechanotransduction channel.

1 Max-Planck-Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie, Spemannstrasse 35, 72076 Tübingen, Germany. 2 Max-Planck-Institut für Medizinische Forschung, Jahnstrasse 29, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.

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{ddagger} Present address: Oregon Hearing Research Center and Vollum Institute, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR 97201, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: teresa.nicolson{at}

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