Martin Göpfert: Peripheral auditory filtering – Mechanisms, Genes, and Age

Auditory filtering determines the temporal precision and frequency characteristics of hearing. Filtering commences in the auditory periphery, where it determines the temporal and spectral characteristics of the responses of auditory sensory cells.

Profiting from experimental advantages of the Drosophila ear, this project aims to dissect how this peripheral auditory filtering is accomplished and adjusted and how it is maintained:

(i) by simultaneously monitoring mechanical and electrical responses, the interplay between mechanical and electrical will be analyzed and underlying molecular mechanisms will be probed.

(ii) The impact of electrical activity on mechanical filtering will be examined, and, using genetic manipulations and long-term measurements,

(iii) mechanisms that adjust and maintain filter properties will be explored.

In addition to contributing fly genetics to the consortium, the project promises insights into fundamental auditory filter mechanisms and the evolution thereof: pilot studies show that the fly’s auditory neurons are electromotile and electrically tuned, and first mutations have been identified that progressively deteriorate filter-properties, causing age-dependent hearing loss.

 

 

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Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft