Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Key gene identified for development of inner-ear structure required for balance

09.03.2004


Ears do more than hear; they also control balance and our perception of gravity and motion. An international team of scientists including David E. Bergstrom and John C. Schimenti, at The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor; and Rainer Paffenholz and Gabriele Stumm at Ingenium Pharmaceuticals AG in Martinsried, Germany, identified for the first time a protein whose enzymatic function is indispensable for development of this balance system.



The scientists had known that mice with the head tilt mutation known as het hear perfectly well, but carry their head at an angle and lack coordination. Mice and humans sense motion in the same way. When our heads move, a cluster of crystalline structures known as otoconia in the inner ear moves somewhat independently. This shearing motion stimulates underlying nerve endings to create the sensation of motion.

The scientists found the head-tilt mice have no otoconia, but otherwise exhibit perfect inner ear formation. "Because animals use otoconia to sense their orientation in space and to monitor posture and movements, the behavior and motor coordination deficits of [the mice] can be conclusively explained by the lack of otoconia," the researchers note in the paper.


Prior research had located the head-tilt mutation to a large region on Chromosome 17. "We had access to five strains of mice with the defect," Bergstrom explains, "and we used these mice in breeding experiments to zero in on the chromosomal location of, and eventually identify, the underlying mutant gene, Nox3." While the exact process of otoconia formation has yet to be defined, this identifies for the first time a protein with a clear enzymatic function as indispensable for otoconia formation, the scientists note.

The mouse gene corresponds to the human gene NOX3. In both mouse and human, the gene affects production of the protein NADPH oxidase 3. Aging, some medications, infections and injury can damage otoconia, resulting in vertigo and other balance problems. Discovering the role of NADPH oxidase 3 could aid researchers seeking a way to regenerate otoconia in humans.

Bergstrom says he and his Jackson Laboratory colleagues enjoyed an exceptionally productive collaboration with their colleagues at Ingenium Pharmaceuticals AG. "It has been such a nice opportunity to work and interact with such a pleasant group of scientists that share our interests".

The U.S. portion of the research was funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Researchers dedicated the paper in memory of Rebecca Bergstrom, a co-author of the paper, who passed away February 6 after a lengthy battle with breast cancer.


Paffenholz R, Bergstrom R, Pasutto F, Wabnitz P, Munroe R, Jagla W, Heinzmann U, Marquardt A, Bareiss A, Laufs J, Russ A, Stumm G, Schimenti J, and Bergstrom D. Vestibular defects in head-tilt mice result from mutations in Nox3, encoding an NADPH oxidase. Genes & Development, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., March 2004.

Heather Cosel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cshl.org/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Symbiotic upcycling: Turning “low value” compounds into biomass
25.06.2019 | Max-Planck-Institut für Marine Mikrobiologie

nachricht New Therapy Promotes Vascular Repair Following Stroke
25.06.2019 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fraunhofer IDMT demonstrates its method for acoustic quality inspection at »Sensor+Test 2019« in Nürnberg

From June 25th to 27th 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT in Ilmenau (Germany) will be presenting a new solution for acoustic quality inspection allowing contact-free, non-destructive testing of manufactured parts and components. The method which has reached Technology Readiness Level 6 already, is currently being successfully tested in practical use together with a number of industrial partners.

Reducing machine downtime, manufacturing defects, and excessive scrap

Im Focus: Successfully Tested in Praxis: Bidirectional Sensor Technology Optimizes Laser Material Deposition

The quality of additively manufactured components depends not only on the manufacturing process, but also on the inline process control. The process control ensures a reliable coating process because it detects deviations from the target geometry immediately. At LASER World of PHOTONICS 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be demonstrating how well bi-directional sensor technology can already be used for Laser Material Deposition (LMD) in combination with commercial optics at booth A2.431.

Fraunhofer ILT has been developing optical sensor technology specifically for production measurement technology for around 10 years. In particular, its »bd-1«...

Im Focus: The hidden structure of the periodic system

The well-known representation of chemical elements is just one example of how objects can be arranged and classified

The periodic table of elements that most chemistry books depict is only one special case. This tabular overview of the chemical elements, which goes back to...

Im Focus: MPSD team discovers light-induced ferroelectricity in strontium titanate

Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.

Ferroelectricity is a state in which the constituent lattice “looks” in one specific direction, forming a macroscopic electrical polarisation. The ability to...

Im Focus: Determining the Earth’s gravity field more accurately than ever before

Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.

The Earth’s gravity fluctuates from place to place. Geodesists use this phenomenon to observe geodynamic and climatological processes. Using...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on UV LED Technologies & Applications – ICULTA 2020 | Call for Abstracts

24.06.2019 | Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cooling with the sun

25.06.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Robocabs: The mobility of the future?

25.06.2019 | Studies and Analyses

Skipping Meat on Occasion May Protect Against Type 2 Diabetes

25.06.2019 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>