Proteomic analysis reveals the composition of glutamatergic organelles of auditory inner hair cell


Cepeda AP, Ninov M, Neef J, Parfentev I, Kusch K, Reisinger E, Jahn R, Moser T, Urlaub H


Molecular & Cellular Proteomics


Mol Cell Proteomics. 2023 Dec 19:100704.


In the ear, inner hair cells (IHCs) employ sophisticated glutamatergic ribbon synapses with afferent neurons to transmit auditory information to the brain. The presynaptic machinery responsible for neurotransmitter release in IHC synapses includes proteins such as the multi-C2-domain protein otoferlin and the vesicular glutamate transporter 3 (VGluT3). Yet, much of this likely unique molecular machinery remains to be deciphered. The scarcity of material has so far hampered biochemical studies which require large amounts of purified sample. We developed a subcellular fractionation workflow combined with immunoisolation of VGluT3-containing membrane vesicles, allowing for the enrichment of glutamatergic organelles that are likely dominated by synaptic vesicles (SVs) of IHCs. We have characterized their protein composition in mice before and after hearing onset using mass spectrometry and confocal imaging and provide a fully annotated proteome with hitherto unidentified proteins. Despite the prevalence of IHC marker proteins across IHC maturation, the profiles of trafficking proteins differed markedly before and after hearing onset. Among the proteins enriched after hearing onset were VAMP-7, syntaxin-7, syntaxin-8, syntaxin-12/13, SCAMP1, V-ATPase, SV2, and PKCα. Our study provides an inventory of the machinery associated with synaptic vesicle-mediated trafficking and presynaptic activity at IHC ribbon synapses and serves as a foundation for future functional studies.


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