The stereocilia of the inner ear sensory cells contain the actin-binding protein radixin, encoded by RDX. Radixin is important for hearing but remains functionally obscure. To determine how radixin influences hearing sensitivity, we used a custom rapid imaging technique to visualize stereocilia motion while measuring electrical potential amplitudes during acoustic stimulation. Radixin inhibition decreased sound-evoked electrical potentials. Other functional measures, including electrically induced sensory cell motility and sound-evoked stereocilia deflections, showed a minor amplitude increase. These unique functional alterations demonstrate radixin as necessary for conversion of sound into electrical signals at acoustic rates. We identified patients with RDX variants with normal hearing at birth who showed rapidly deteriorating hearing during the first months of life. This may be overlooked by newborn hearing screening and explained by multiple disturbances in postnatal sensory cells. We conclude radixin is necessary for ensuring normal conversion of sound to electrical signals in the inner ear.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Medicine (miscellaneous)