Inner ear proteins may repair and renew hair cells

Scientists have found that the movement of a protein could help.
Last update on Jan, 09, 2017

Reported in the Cell Reports journal, the researchers, working at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, genetically modified zebrafish so that a certain protein present in the bundles, fascin 2b, was fused with a fluorescent green protein, allowing them to be studied in greater detail than usual.

The scientists were surprised to find that the proteins constantly circulated around the bundles - also known as stereocilia - seemingly moving to repair breaks in the structures that occurred when the zebrafish were exposed to loud noise.

Conventional understanding theorized that hair cells were crafted out of cellular scaffolding proteins that experienced no change or interior circulation, but the discovery completely questions this understanding.

Senior author Brian McDermott was quoted saying: "We found that the constant, dynamic movement likely contributes to the permanency of the hair bundle structure to last a lifetime or 70 to 90 years in human terms."



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