Otoconia are bio-crystals anchored to the macular sensory epithelium of the utricle and saccule in the inner ear for motion sensing and bodily balance. Otoconia dislocation, degeneration and ectopic calcification can have detrimental effects on balance and vertigo/dizziness, yet the mechanism underlying otoconia formation is not fully understood. In this study, we show that selected matrix components are recruited to form the crystal matrix and sequester Ca2+ for spatial specific formation of otoconia. Specifically, otoconin-90 (Oc90) binds otolin through both domains (TH and C1q) of otolin, but full-length otolin shows the strongest interaction. These proteins have much higher expression levels in the utricle and saccule than other inner ear epithelial tissues in mice.
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Date Published: 31-May-2011
Author(s): Yang H., Zhao X., Xu Y., Wang L., He Q., Lundberg Y.