Inner ear proteomics of mouse models for deafness, a discovery strategy.

Document Type


Publication Date



Deafness, Disease-Models-Animal, Ear-Inner, Humans, Mice-Mutant-Strains, Proteomics

JAX Source

Brain Res 2006 May; 1091(1):113-21.


Inner ear dysfunction is often associated with defective hair cells. Therefore, hair cells are the focus of study in many of the mouse mutants showing auditory and vestibular deficits. However, harvesting sufficient numbers of hair cells from the tiny bony mouse inner ear for proteomic analysis is challenging. New approaches that would take advantage of mouse mutants and avoid processing steps, such as decalcification or microdissetion, would be more suitable for proteomic analysis. Here, we propose a novel approach called SSUMM-Subtractive Strategy Using Mouse Mutants. SSUMM takes advantage of the differences between control and affected or mutant samples. We predict that SSUMM would be a useful method in proteomics, especially in those cases in which the investigator must work with small numbers of diverse cell types from a tiny organ. Here, we discuss the potential utility of SSUMM to unravel the protein expression profiles of hair cells using the Pou4f3 mouse mutant as an example. Pou4f3 mutant mice exhibit a total loss of inner and outer hair cells, but supporting cells remain relatively intact in the cochlea, thus providing an excellent model for identifying proteins and transcripts that are specific to the hair cell at all life stages. SSUMM would maximize the sensitivity of the analyses while obviating the need for tedious sessions of microdissection and collection of hair cells. By comparing the mutant to control ears at specific time points, it is possible to identify direct targets of a gene product of interest. Further, SSUMM could be used to identify and analyze inner ear development markers and other known genes/proteins that are coexpressed in the ear. In this short technical report, we also discuss protein-profiling approaches suitable for SSUMM and briefly discuss other approaches used in the field of proteomics.