1. Developmental Biology
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Purinergic signaling in cochlear supporting cells reduces hair cell excitability by increasing the extracellular space

  1. Travis A Babola
  2. Calvin J Kersbergen
  3. Han Chin Wang
  4. Dwight E Bergles  Is a corresponding author
  1. Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, United States
Research Article
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Cite this article as: eLife 2020;9:e52160 doi: 10.7554/eLife.52160

Abstract

Neurons in developing sensory pathways exhibit spontaneous bursts of electrical activity that are critical for survival, maturation and circuit refinement. In the auditory system, intrinsically generated activity arises within the cochlea, but the molecular mechanisms that initiate this activity remain poorly understood. We show that burst firing of mouse inner hair cells prior to hearing onset requires P2RY1 autoreceptors expressed by inner supporting cells. P2RY1 activation triggers K+ efflux and depolarization of hair cells, as well as osmotic shrinkage of supporting cells that dramatically increased the extracellular space and speed of K+ redistribution. Pharmacological inhibition or genetic disruption of P2RY1 suppressed neuronal burst firing by reducing K+ release, but unexpectedly enhanced their tonic firing, as water resorption by supporting cells reduced the extracellular space, leading to K+ accumulation. These studies indicate that purinergic signaling in supporting cells regulates hair cell excitability by controlling the volume of the extracellular space.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Travis A Babola

    The Solomon H Snyder Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-4440-5029
  2. Calvin J Kersbergen

    The Solomon H Snyder Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  3. Han Chin Wang

    The Solomon H Snyder Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  4. Dwight E Bergles

    The Solomon H Snyder Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, United States
    For correspondence
    dbergles@jhmi.edu
    Competing interests
    Dwight E Bergles, Reviewing editor, eLife.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-7133-7378

Funding

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (DC016497)

  • Travis A Babola

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (DC008860)

  • Dwight E Bergles

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NS091018)

  • Travis A Babola

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (DC000023)

  • Travis A Babola

Brain Science Institute, Johns Hopkins University

  • Dwight E Bergles

Rubenstein Fund for Hearing Research

  • Dwight E Bergles

Otonomy, Inc

  • Dwight E Bergles

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NS050274)

  • Dwight E Bergles

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Ethics

Animal experimentation: This study was performed in accordance with the recommendations provided in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All experiments and procedures were approved by the Johns Hopkins Institutional Care and Use Committee (protocol M018M330). All surgery was performed under isoflurane anesthesia and every effort was made to minimize suffering.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Andrew J. King, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Publication history

  1. Received: September 24, 2019
  2. Accepted: January 7, 2020
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: January 8, 2020 (version 1)

Copyright

© 2020, Babola et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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