Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UI researcher studies deafness in fruit flies, humans

10.05.2005


University of Iowa Biological Sciences Professor Daniel F. Eberl and his colleagues at Duke University have uncovered genetic defects leading to deafness in fruit flies that may shed light on deafness in humans. Their research paper, "Myosin VIIA Defects, which Underlie the Usher 1B Syndrome in Humans, Lead to Deafness in Drosophila," is scheduled for publication in the May 10 issue of the journal Current Biology.



Eberl says their recent work -- showing that loss of function in the Myosin VIIA gene leads to complete deafness in fruit flies -- has brought scientists one step closer to understanding how such mutations result in inner-ear abnormalities and deafness in humans. "Myosin VIIA was one of the first human hereditary deafness genes to be identified. But it is not clear exactly how this molecule works in the human ear," he says.

Previous evidence suggested that fruit flies and humans rely on the same genes to develop their auditory organs, which in the fruit fly is in the antenna. Eberl’s research shows that at least one molecular component specialized for hearing function, myosin VIIA, is conserved in these ears.


In looking for clues to inherited deafness in humans, Eberl begins with the "love song" of the fruit fly. Although they may seem an odd choice, the fruit fly and its love song are very effective tools for learning about the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in hearing in insects and animals, including humans, says Eberl, who is trying to identify the genes responsible for hearing in fruit flies.

Whether or not mutant fruit flies can hear the fruit fly love song (actually a vibrating wing) enables Eberl to evaluate the function of genes responsible for hearing. He and his graduate student, Sokol Todi, implant electrodes into the antennas of the flies, and record the voltages the receptor cells generate as the flies listen to the love song. By comparing the electrical impulses generated by the normal flies to those generated by myosin VIIA mutant flies, they showed that the myosin VIIA gene is essential for hearing in flies, as it is in humans.

Now that they know the same molecule is used, scientists will be able to design experiments to test specific mechanisms that have been hypothesized. Eberl says, "These experiments are next to impossible in humans, but quite feasible in the fruit fly."

"Understanding how this protein works and examining its functional role in hearing will provide new insights into auditory mechanisms, not only in fruit flies, but in humans, as well," he says.

Gary Galluzzo | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uiowa.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria
23.05.2017 | Rice University

nachricht Discovery of an alga's 'dictionary of genes' could lead to advances in biofuels, medicine
23.05.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized

23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>