The Journal of physiology
VGLUT3‐p. A211V variant fuses stereocilia bundles and elongates synaptic ribbons
Joshi, Y., Petit, C. P., Miot, S., Guillet, M., Sendin, G., Bourien, J., ... & Nouvian, R.
cochlea, deafness, exocytosis, sensory cells
DFNA25 is an autosomal-dominant and progressive form of human deafness caused by mutations in the SLC17A8 gene, which encodes the vesicular glutamate transporter type 3 (VGLUT3). To resolve the mechanisms underlying DFNA25, we studied phenotypes of mice harbouring the p.A221V mutation in humans (corresponding to p.A224V in mice). Using auditory brainstem response and distortion product otoacoustic emissions, we showed progressive hearing loss with intact cochlear amplification in the VGLUT3A224V/A224V mouse. The summating potential was reduced, indicating the alteration of inner hair cell (IHC) receptor potential. Scanning electron microscopy examinations demonstrated the collapse of stereocilia bundles in IHCs, leaving those from outer hair cells unaffected. In addition, IHC ribbon synapses underwent structural and functional modifications at later stages. Using super-resolution microscopy, we observed oversized synaptic ribbons and patch-clamp membrane capacitance measurements showed an increase in the rate of the sustained releasable pool exocytosis. These results suggest that DFNA25 stems from a failure in the mechano-transduction followed by a change in synaptic transfer. The VGLUT3A224V/A224V mouse model opens the way to a deeper understanding and to a potential treatment for DFNA25.