Thursday, October 22, 2015

Scientists Identify Proteins Crucial to Loss of Hearing

Statistics show that most 40 million Americans suffer from loss of hearing. Unfortunately there is no way to reverse deafness yet, mostly because hearing relies on auditory hair cells which do not regenerate, but scientists have been experimenting and researching more on this subject. The scientists at the University of Maryland conducted a new study and found out how these rare hair cells develop. They discovered that a protein known as RFX transcription plays a role in the development and survival of the hair cells. The experiment used mice whose auditory hair cells glow with a florescent protein, that way they are not mixed up with any other cells. Then they used next generation sequencing to quantify the thousands of genes that are expressed in hair cells, in comparison with other cells in the ear. As they generated this gene, they were searching for key regulators of genes for hair cells. They discovered the key regulator was the RFX transcription protein. They then experimented mice who lacked two RFX transcription factors in their hair cells. At first they developed normally, but after a certain amount of time they had gone deaf. Even though the experiment was done on mice, t gave the scientists more information about hearing loss, and hopefully in time it can be treated. They now know more information about the RFX transcription factors.

1 comment:

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