[MARMAM] New publication on high frequency hearing and potential markers for detecting cases of hearing loss

MARIA MORELL mmorellyb at hotmail.com
Thu Jul 23 01:03:50 PDT 2020

Dear colleagues,

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce the publication of our new paper “Echolocating Whales and Bats Express the Motor Protein Prestin in the Inner Ear: A Potential Marker for Hearing Loss” in Frontiers in Veterinary Science.

The full text is available here: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2020.00429/full?fbclid=IwAR0pd5lru2-c-vTPusXvS-iMTq_xAQG3-Q2S9STxs1LH_lFIkuzT4GbL-54

Morell M, Vogl AW, IJsseldijk LL, Piscitelli-Doshkov M, Tong L, Ostertag S, Ferreira M, Fraija-Fernandez N, Colegrove KM, Puel J-L, Raverty SA and Shadwick RE (2020) Echolocating Whales and Bats Express the Motor Protein Prestin in the Inner Ear: A Potential Marker for Hearing Loss. Front. Vet. Sci. 7:429. Doi: 10.3389/fvets.2020.00429<https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2020.00429>


Prestin is an integral membrane motor protein located in outer hair cells of the mammalian cochlea. It is responsible for electromotility and required for cochlear amplification. Although prestin works in a cycle-by-cycle mode up to frequencies of at least 79 kHz, it is not known whether or not prestin is required for the extreme high frequencies used by echolocating species. Cetaceans are known to possess a prestin coding gene. However, the expression and distribution pattern of the protein in the cetacean cochlea has not been determined, and the contribution of prestin to echolocation has not yet been resolved. Here we report the expression of the protein prestin in five species of echolocating whales and two species of echolocating bats. Positive labeling in the basolateral membrane of outer hair cells, using three anti-prestin antibodies, was found all along the cochlear spiral in echolocating species. These findings provide morphological evidence that prestin can have a role in cochlear amplification in the basolateral membrane up to 120–180 kHz. In addition, labeling of the cochlea with a combination of anti-prestin, anti-neurofilament, anti-myosin VI and/or phalloidin and DAPI will be useful for detecting potential recent cases of noise-induced hearing loss in stranded cetaceans. This study improves our understanding of the mechanisms involved in sound transduction in echolocating mammals, as well as describing an optimized methodology for detecting cases of hearing loss in stranded marine mammals.

Best regards,

Maria Morell

Maria Morell, PhD

Research Associate

Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research (ITAW)

University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover

Werftstr. 6, 25761 Büsum


Phone: +49-(0)5118568178

e-mail: maria.morell at tiho-hannover.de<mailto:maria.morell at tiho-hannover.de>

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