ELMOD3, an ARL2 GTPase-activating protein, is implicated in causing hearing impairment in humans. However, the specific role of ELMOD3 in auditory function is still far from being elucidated. In the present study, we used the CRISPR/Cas9 technology to establish an Elmod3 knockout mice line in the C57BL/6 background (hereinafter referred to as Elmod3-/- mice) and investigated the role of Elmod3 in the cochlea and auditory function. Elmod3-/- mice started to exhibit hearing loss from 2 months of age, and the deafness progressed with aging, while the vestibular function of Elmod3-/- mice was normal. We also observed that Elmod3-/- mice showed thinning and receding hair cells in the organ of Corti and much lower expression of F-actin cytoskeleton in the cochlea compared with wild-type mice. The deafness associated with the mutation may be caused by cochlear hair cells dysfunction, which manifests with shortening and fusion of inner hair cells stereocilia and progressive degeneration of outer hair cells stereocilia. Our finding associates Elmod3 deficiencies with stereocilia dysmorphologies and reveals that they might play roles in the actin cytoskeleton dynamics in cochlear hair cells, and thus relate to hearing impairment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology