Cochlear hair cells convert sound-induced vibration into electrical signals. FAM65B mutations cause hearing loss by an unknown mechanism. Using biochemistry and stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (STORM), we show here that Fam65b oligomers form a circumferential ring near the basal taper of the mechanically sensitive stereocilia of murine hair cells. Taperin, a second protein near the taper, forms a dense-core-like structure that is disrupted in the absence of Fam65b. Stereocilia of Fam65b-deficient murine hair cells start to develop, but mechanotransduction is affected and stereocilia deteriorate. Yeast-two-hybrid screens identify RhoC as a Fam65b binding partner. RhoC co-localizes with Fam65b in stereocilia and regulates Fam65b oligomerization. Binding to RhoC and oligomerization are critical for Fam65b function. Our findings thus reveal a highly organized compartment near the base of stereocilia that is critical for hair cell function and affected in disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)