Sharpened cochlear tuning in a mouse with a genetically modified tectorial membrane

Ian Russell, Victoria Lukashkina, Andrei Lukashkin, P.K. Legan, R.J. Goodyear, G.P. Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Frequency tuning in the cochlea is determined by the passive mechanical properties of the basilar membrane and active feedback from the outer hair cells, sensory-effector cells that detect and amplify sound-induced basilar membrane motions. The sensory hair bundles of the outer hair cells are imbedded in the tectorial membrane, a sheet of extracellular matrix that overlies the cochlea's sensory epithelium. The tectorial membrane contains radially organized collagen fibrils that are imbedded in an unusual striated-sheet matrix formed by two glycoproteins, alpha-tectorin (Tecta) and beta-tectorin (Tectb). In Tectb(-/-) mice the structure of the striated-sheet matrix is disrupted. Although these mice have a low-frequency hearing loss, basilar-membrane and neural tuning are both significantly enhanced in the high-frequency regions of the cochlea, with little loss in sensitivity. These findings can be attributed to a reduction in the acting mass of the tectorial membrane and reveal a new function for this structure in controlling interactions along the cochlea.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-223
Number of pages9
JournalNature Neuroscience
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2007


  • sharpened cochlear tuning
  • mouse
  • genetically modified tectorial membrane
  • cells
  • neural pathways


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