The ganglioside GM3 synthase (SAT-I), encoded by a single-copy gene, is a primary glycosyltransferase for the synthesis of complex gangliosides. In SAT-I null mice, hearing ability, assessed by brainstem auditory-evoked potentials (BAEP), was impaired at the onset of hearing and had been completely lost by 17 days after birth (P17), showing a deformity in hair cells in the organ of Corti. By 2 months of age, the organ of Corti had selectively and completely disappeared without effect on balance or motor function or in the histology of vestibule. Interestingly, spatiotemporal changes in localization of individual gangliosides, including GM3 and GT1b, were observed during the postnatal development and maturation of the normal inner ear. GM3 expressed in almost all regions of cochlea at P3, but at the onset of hearing it distinctly localized in stria vascularis, spiral ganglion, and the organ of Corti. In addition, SAT-I null mice maintain the function of stria vascularis, because normal potassium concentration and endocochlear potential of endolymph were observed even when they lost the BAEP completely. Thus, the defect of hearing ability of SAT-I null mice could be attributed to the functional disorganization of the organ of Corti, and the expression of gangliosides, especially GM3, during the early part of the functional maturation of the cochlea could be essential for the acquisition and maintenance of hearing function.
|Number of pages
|Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
|Published - Jun 9 2009
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