Sunday, September 25, 2022

Researchers identify a new mechanism responsible for controlling auditory sensitivity

A new study published in PNAS sheds light on a newly identified mechanism of regulating auditory sensitivity that may temporarily reduce the sensitivity of the auditory system to protect itself from loud sounds that cause irreversible damage. Can be made.

The study, led by CU Anschutz researchers Andrew Mecca and Giussy Caprara in Anthony Peng’s lab, tested a decades-old hypothesis that proposed that the gating spring, a small, nanometer-scale protein structure that is mechanically Opens and closes an ion channel. The sensory hair cell cells, in response to sound vibrations, can act as controllers of direct channel activity.

Previous work in the auditory field has mostly focused on understanding the mechanisms that target ion channels. This study provides the first evidence that the gating spring itself has the ability to modulate channel sensitivity.

“This study documents the first time we understand a mechanism that controls auditory sensitivity at both the molecular and mechanical level,” says Peng, an associate professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and senior author of the study. “We uncovered a new mechanism of modulating sensitivity, which opens the door to discovering more about how the auditory system generally functions and how it can be used to maximize the range of sounds that can be heard. that we can identify and protect against potential damage to sensory cells.”

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The mechanism discussed in the study works by modifying its stiffness, a physical property of the gating spring, which is responsible for controlling how much the channel opens and closes in response to sound vibrations entering the inner ear. The researchers studied the properties of the gating spring and the resulting activity of the channel in single sensory hair cells, and found that cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), a specific type of signaling molecule, reduced the stiffness of the gating spring and reduced channel shortening. does less. Sensitivity – which is the first time a physical mechanism for controlling gating spring stiffness has been identified.

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“Identifying the mechanisms underlying this process – how it works physically and mechanically – provides an opportunity for future research and gives the field an opportunity to develop a new type of drug that can be used as a type of drug.” can be done to prevent hearing loss from exposure to loud noises,” says Peng. Ultimately, they aim to learn more about how the ear can detect such a large range of sounds and how the system protects itself, and this represents a major step forward for the field.

Story Source:

material provided by University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Original written by Kelsa Peters. Note: Content can be edited for style and length.

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