Exocyst Complex Member EXOC5 Is Required for Survival of Hair Cells and Spiral Ganglion Neurons and Maintenance of Hearing

B Lee, etc
Molecular Neurobiology, 2018

The exocyst, an octameric protein complex consisting of Exoc1 through Exoc8, was first determined to regulate exocytosis by targeting vesicles to the plasma membrane in yeast to mice. In addition to this fundamental role, the exocyst complex has been implicated in other cellular processes. In this study, we investigated the role of the exocyst in cochlear development and hearing by targeting EXOC5, a central exocyst component. Deleting Exoc5 in the otic epithelium with widely used Cre lines resulted in early lethality. Thus, we generated two different inner ear-specific Exoc5 knockout models by crossing Gfi1 Cre mice with Exoc5 f/f mice for hair cell-specific deletion (Gfi1 Cre/+ ;Exoc5 f/f ) and by in utero delivery of rAAV-iCre into the otocyst of embryonic day 12.5 for deletion throughout the otic epithelium (rAAV2/1-iCre;Exoc5 f/f ). Gfi1 Cre/+ ;Exoc5 f/f mice showed relatively normal hair cell morphology until postnatal day 20, after which hair cells underwent apoptosis accompanied by disorganization of stereociliary bundles, resulting in progressive hearing loss. rAAV2/1-iCre;Exoc5 f/f mice exhibited abnormal neurite morphology, followed by apoptotic degeneration of spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs) and hair cells, which led to profound and early-onset hearing loss. These results demonstrate that Exoc5 is essential for the normal development and survival of cochlear hair cells and SGNs, as well as the functional maintenance of hearing.

Read more »

Molecular Neurobiology
doi: 10.1007/s12035-017-0857-z
Yonsei University College of Medicine