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Johnson, S.L.; Olt, J.; Cho, S.; von Gersdorff, H.; Marcotti, W. (2017)
Publisher: Society for Neuroscience
Journal: The Journal of Neuroscience
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: hair cells, Cellular/Molecular, cochlea, calcium channels, ribbon synapse, exocytosis, Research Articles

Classified by OpenAIRE into

mesheuropmc: sense organs, otorhinolaryngologic diseases
The cochlea processes auditory signals over a wide range of frequencies and intensities. However, the transfer characteristics at hair cell ribbon synapses are still poorly understood at different frequency locations along the cochlea. Using recordings from mature gerbils, we report here a surprisingly strong block of exocytosis by the slow Ca(2+) buffer EGTA (10 mM) in basal hair cells tuned to high frequencies (∼30 kHz). In addition, using recordings from gerbil, mouse and bullfrog auditory organs, we find that the spatial coupling between Ca(2+) influx and exocytosis changes from nanodomain in low-frequency tuned hair cells (<∼2 kHz) to progressively more microdomain in high-frequency cells (>∼2 kHz). Hair cell synapses have thus developed remarkable frequency-dependent tuning of exocytosis: accurate low-latency encoding of onset and offset of sound intensity in the cochlea's base and submillisecond encoding of membrane receptor potential fluctuations in the apex for precise phase-locking to sound signals. We also found that synaptic vesicle pool recovery from depletion was sensitive to high concentrations of EGTA, suggesting that intracellular Ca(2+) buffers play an important role in vesicle recruitment in both low- and high-frequency hair cells. In conclusion, our results indicate that microdomain coupling plays an important role in the exocytosis of high-frequency hair cells, and suggest a novel hypothesis for why these cells are more susceptible to sound-induced damage than low-frequency cells; high-frequency IHCs must have a low Ca(2+) buffer capacity in order to sustain exocytosis, thus making them more prone to Ca(2+)-induced cytotoxicity. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: In the inner ear, sensory hair cells signal reception of sound. They do this by converting the sound induced movement of their hair bundles present at the top of these cells, into an electrical current. This current depolarizes the hair cell and triggers the calcium-induced release of the neurotransmitter glutamate that activates the postsynaptic auditory fibres. The speed and precision of this process enables the brain to perceive the vital components of sound such as frequency and intensity. We show that the coupling strength between calcium channels and the exocytosis calcium sensor at inner hair cell synapses changes along the mammalian cochlea such that the timing and/or intensity of sound is encoded with high precision.

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