Mouse model of enlarged vestibular aqueducts defines temporal requirement of Slc26a4 expression for hearing acquisition.
ABSTRACT: Mutations in human SLC26A4 are a common cause of hearing loss associated with enlarged vestibular aqueducts (EVA). SLC26A4 encodes pendrin, an anion-base exchanger expressed in inner ear epithelial cells that secretes HCO3- into endolymph. Studies of Slc26a4-null mice indicate that pendrin is essential for inner ear development, but have not revealed whether pendrin is specifically necessary for homeostasis. Slc26a4-null mice are profoundly deaf, with severe inner ear malformations and degenerative changes that do not model the less severe human phenotype. Here, we describe studies in which we generated a binary transgenic mouse line in which Slc26a4 expression could be induced with doxycycline. The transgenes were crossed onto the Slc26a4-null background so that all functional pendrin was derived from the transgenes. Varying the temporal expression of Slc26a4 revealed that E16.5 to P2 was the critical interval in which pendrin was required for acquisition of normal hearing. Lack of pendrin during this period led to endolymphatic acidification, loss of the endocochlear potential, and failure to acquire normal hearing. Doxycycline initiation at E18.5 or discontinuation at E17.5 resulted in partial hearing loss approximating the human EVA auditory phenotype. These data collectively provide mechanistic insight into hearing loss caused by SLC26A4 mutations and establish a model for further studies of EVA-associated hearing loss.
Project description:Enlargement of the vestibular aqueduct (EVA) is a common inner ear malformation found in children with sensorineural hearing loss that is frequently associated with loss-of-function or hypo-function mutations of SLC26A4. SLC26A4 codes for pendrin, which is a protein that is expressed in apical membranes of selected epithelia and functions as an anion exchanger. The comparatively high prevalence of EVA provides a strong imperative to develop rational interventions that delay, ameliorate or prevent hearing loss associated with this phenotype. The development of rational interventions requires a fundamental understanding of the role that pendrin plays in the normal development of hearing, as well as a detailed understanding of the pathobiologic mechanisms that, in the absence of fully functional pendrin, lead to an unstable hearing phenotype, with fluctuating or progressive loss of hearing. This review summarizes studies in mouse models that have focused on delineating the role of pendrin in the physiology of the inner ear and the pathobiology that leads to hearing loss.
Project description:Enlarged vestibular aqueduct (EVA) is one of the most commonly identified inner ear malformations in hearing loss patients including Pendred syndrome. While biallelic mutations of the SLC26A4 gene, encoding pendrin, causes non-syndromic hearing loss with EVA or Pendred syndrome, a considerable number of patients appear to carry mono-allelic mutation. This suggests faulty pendrin regulatory machinery results in hearing loss. Here we identify EPHA2 as another causative gene of Pendred syndrome with SLC26A4. EphA2 forms a protein complex with pendrin controlling pendrin localization, which is disrupted in some pathogenic forms of pendrin. Moreover, point mutations leading to amino acid substitution in the EPHA2 gene are identified from patients bearing mono-allelic mutation of SLC26A4. Ephrin-B2 binds to EphA2 triggering internalization with pendrin inducing EphA2 autophosphorylation weakly. The identified EphA2 mutants attenuate ephrin-B2- but not ephrin-A1-induced EphA2 internalization with pendrin. Our results uncover an unexpected role of the Eph/ephrin system in epithelial function.
Project description:The human gene SLC26A4 and the mouse ortholog Slc26a4 code for the protein pendrin, which is an anion exchanger expressed in apical membranes of selected epithelia. In the inner ear, pendrin is expressed in the cochlea, the vestibular labyrinth and the endolymphatic sac. Loss-of-function and hypo-functional mutations cause an enlargement of the vestibular aqueduct (EVA) and sensorineural hearing loss. The relatively high prevalence of SLC26A4 mutations provides a strong imperative to develop rational interventions that delay, ameliorate or prevent pendrin-associated loss of cochlear and vestibular function. This review summarizes recent studies in mouse models that have been developed to delineate the role of pendrin in the physiology of hearing and balance and that have brought forward the concept that a temporally and spatially limited therapy may be sufficient to secure a life-time of normal hearing in children bearing mutations of SLC26A4.
Project description:Pendred syndrome is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by sensorineural hearing loss, with malformations of the inner ear, ranging from enlarged vestibular aqueduct (EVA) to Mondini malformation, and deficient iodide organification in the thyroid gland. Nonsyndromic EVA (ns-EVA) is a separate type of sensorineural hearing loss showing normal thyroid function. Both Pendred syndrome and ns-EVA seem to be linked to the malfunction of pendrin (SLC26A4), a membrane transporter able to exchange anions between the cytosol and extracellular fluid. In the past, the pathogenicity of SLC26A4 missense mutations were assumed if the mutations fulfilled two criteria: low incidence of the mutation in the control population and substitution of evolutionary conserved amino acids. Here we show that these criteria are insufficient to make meaningful predictions about the effect of these SLC26A4 variants on the pendrin-induced ion transport. Furthermore, we functionally characterized 10 missense mutations within the SLC26A4 ORF, and consistently found that on the protein level, an addition or omission of a proline or a charged amino acid in the SLC26A4 sequence is detrimental to its function. These types of changes may be adequate for predicting SLC26A4 functionality in the absence of direct functional tests.
Project description:SLC26A4 mutations cause fluctuating and progressive hearing loss associated with enlargement of the vestibular aqueduct (EVA). SLC26A4 encodes a transmembrane anion exchanger called pendrin expressed in nonsensory epithelial cells of the lateral wall of cochlea, vestibular organs and endolymphatic sac. We previously described a transgenic mouse model of EVA with doxycycline (dox)-inducible expression of Slc26a4 in which administration of dox from conception to embryonic day 17.5 (DE17.5) resulted in hearing fluctuation between 1 and 3months of age. In the present study, we hypothesized that Slc26a4 is required to stabilize hearing in DE17.5 ears between 1 and 3months of age. We tested our hypothesis by evaluating the effect of postnatal re-induction of Slc26a4 expression on hearing. Readministration of dox to DE17.5 mice at postnatal day 6 (P6), but not at 1month of age, resulted in reduced click-evoked auditory brainstem response (ABR) thresholds, less fluctuation of hearing and a higher surface density of pendrin expression in spindle-shaped cells of the stria vascularis. Pendrin expression in spindle-shaped cells was inversely correlated with ABR thresholds. These findings suggest that stabilization of hearing by readministration of dox at P6 is mediated by pendrin expression in spindle-shaped cells. We conclude that early re-induction of Slc26a4 expression can prevent fluctuation of hearing in our Slc26a4-insufficient mouse model. Restoration of SLC26A4 expression and function could reduce or prevent fluctuation of hearing in EVA patients.
Project description:Enlarged vestibular aqueducts (EVA) is one of the most commonly identified inner ear malformations in hearing loss patients including Pendred syndrome. While biallelic mutations of the SLC26A4 gene, encoding pendrin, causes non-syndromic hearing loss with EVA or Pendred syndrome, a considerable number of patients appear to carry mono-allelic mutation. This suggests faulty pendrin regulatory machinery results in hearing loss. Here we identify EPHA2 as another causative gene of Pendred syndrome with SLC26A4. EphA2 forms a protein complex with pendrin controlling pendrin localization, which is disrupted in some pathogenic forms of pendrin. Moreover, point mutations leading to amino acid substitution in the EPHA2 gene are identified from patients bearing mono-allelic mutation of SLC26A4. Ephrin-B2 binds to EphA2 triggering internalization with pendrin inducing EphA2 autophosphorylation weakly. The identified EphA2 mutants attenuate ephrin-B2- but not ephrin-A1-induced EphA2 internalization with pendrin. Our results uncover an unexpected role of the Eph/ephrin system in epithelial function.
Project description:Enlargement of the vestibular aqueduct (EVA) is a commonly detected inner ear anomaly related to hearing loss and often associated with mutations of SLC26A4 encoding pendrin, a transmembrane exchanger of Cl(-), I(-), and HCO(3)(-). Here we describe the phenotypes of 27 Korean EVA subjects and their SLC26A4 genotypes determined by bidirectional nucleotide sequencing.The detected variants include two novel missense substitutions (p.V138L and p.P542R). We characterized the ability of p.V138L and p.P542R pendrin products to traffic to the plasma membrane in COS-7 cells and to transport Cl(-), I(-), and HCO(3)(-) in Xenopus oocytes. The results indicate that p.P542R is a benign polymorphic variant, whereas p.V138L is a pathogenic mutation. Since this and other studies of East Asian EVA cohorts show that the majority of SLC26A4 mutations affect either or both of two amplicons (exons 7-8 and 19), we developed a hierarchical protocol that integrates direct sequencing with denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography analyses for detection of SLC26A4 mutations in these populations. We validated the cost efficiency of the integrated protocol by a simulated screen of published East Asian EVA cohorts with known SLC26A4 genotypes.Our study further defines the spectrum of SLC26A4 mutations among East Asians and demonstrates a rapid and efficient protocol for their detection.
Project description:Hearing loss with enlargement of the vestibular aqueduct (EVA) can be associated with mutations of the SLC26A4 gene encoding pendrin, a transmembrane Cl(-)/I(-)/HCO(3)(-) exchanger. Pendrin's critical transport substrates are thought to be I(-) in the thyroid gland and HCO(3)(-) in the inner ear. We previously reported that bi-allelic SLC26A4 mutations are associated with Pendred syndromic EVA whereas one or zero mutant alleles are associated with nonsyndromic EVA. One study proposed a correlation of nonsyndromic EVA with SLC26A4 alleles encoding pendrin with residual transport activity. Here we describe the phenotypes and SLC26A4 genotypes of 47 EVA patients ascertained since our first report of 39 patients. We sought to determine the pathogenic potential of each variant in our full cohort of 86 patients. We evaluated the trafficking of 11 missense pendrin products expressed in COS-7 cells. Products that targeted to the plasma membrane were expressed in Xenopus oocytes for measurement of anion exchange activity. p.F335L, p.C565Y, p.L597S, p.M775T, and p.R776C had Cl(-)/I(-) and Cl(-)/HCO(3)(-) exchange rate constants that ranged from 13 to 93% of wild type values. p.F335L, p.L597S, p.M775T and p.R776C are typically found as mono-allelic variants in nonsyndromic EVA. The high normal control carrier rate for p.L597S indicates it is a coincidentally detected nonpathogenic variant in this context. We observed moderate differential effects of hypo-functional variants upon exchange of HCO(3)(-) versus I(-) but their magnitude does not support a causal association with nonsyndromic EVA. However, these alleles could be pathogenic in trans configuration with a mutant allele in Pendred syndrome.
Project description:Rationale: Mutations of SLC26A4 that abrogate pendrin, expressed in endolymphatic sac, cochlea and vestibule, are known to cause autosomal recessive sensorineural hearing loss with enlargement of the membranous labyrinth. This is the first study to demonstrate the feasibility of gene therapy for pendrin-related hearing loss. Methods: We used a recombinant viral vector to transfect Slc26a4 cDNA into embryonic day 12.5 otocysts of pendrin-deficient knock-out (Slc26a4?/? ) and pendrin-deficient knock-in (Slc26a4tm1Dontuh/tm1Dontuh ) mice. Results: Local gene-delivery resulted in spatially and temporally limited pendrin expression, prevented enlargement, failed to restore vestibular function, but succeeded in the restoration of hearing. Restored hearing phenotypes included normal hearing as well as sudden, fluctuating, and progressive hearing loss. Conclusion: Our study illustrates the feasibility of gene therapy for pendrin-related hearing loss, suggests differences in the requirement of pendrin between the cochlea and the vestibular labyrinth, and documents that insufficient pendrin expression during late embryonal and early postnatal development of the inner ear can cause sudden, fluctuating and progressive hearing loss without obligatory enlargement of the membranous labyrinth.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Pendrin is a transport protein exchanging chloride for other anions, such as iodide in the thyroid gland or bicarbonate in the inner ear. Mutations in the SLC26A4 gene encoding for pendrin are responsible for both syndromic (Pendred syndrome) and non-syndromic (non-syndromic enlarged vestibular aqueduct, EVA) hearing loss. Besides clinical and radiological assessments, molecular and functional studies are essential for the correct diagnosis of Pendred syndrome and non-syndromic EVA. While a broad spectrum of mutations found in the Caucasian population has been functionally characterized, little is known about mutations specifically occurring in the populations of the Middle East. Here we show the characterization of the ion transport activity of three pendrin mutations previously found in deaf patients with EVA in the Israeli Jewish and Palestinian Arab populations, i.e. V239D, G334V X335 and I487Y FSX39. METHODS:Wild type and mutated pendrin allelic variants were functionally characterized in a heterologous over-expression system. The Cl(-)/I(-) and Cl(-)/OH(-) exchange activities were assessed by fluorometric methods suitable for measuring iodide fluxes and the intracellular pH. RESULTS:Both the Cl(-)/I(-) and the Cl(-)/OH(-) exchange activities of pendrin V239D, G334V X335 and I487Y FSX39 were significantly reduced with respect to the wild type, with V239D displaying a residual iodide transport. CONCLUSION:Functional assays confirmed the diagnosis of non-syndromic EVA due to SLC26A4 mutations performed by radiological and molecular tests in deaf patients belonging to the Israeli Jewish and Palestinian Arab populations. The new finding that the V239D mutation displays residual function suggests that the symptoms caused by this mutation could be ameliorated by a pendrin 'activator', if available.