Usher syndrome is a genetically and clinically heterogeneous disease in humans, characterized by sensorineural hearing loss, retinitis pigmentosa and vestibular dysfunction. This disease is caused by mutations in genes encoding proteins that form complex networks in different cellular compartments. Currently, it remains unclear whether the Usher proteins also form networks within the olfactory epithelium (OE). Here, we describe Usher gene expression at the mRNA and protein level in the OE of mice and showed interactions between these proteins and olfactory signaling proteins. Additionally, we analyzed the odor sensitivity of different Usher syndrome mouse models using electro-olfactogram recordings and monitored significant changes in the odor detection capabilities in mice expressing mutant Usher proteins. Furthermore, we observed changes in the expression of signaling proteins that might compensate for the Usher protein deficiency. In summary, this study provides novel insights into the presence and purpose of the Usher proteins in olfactory signal transduction.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology