Transient transfection of hair cells has proven challenging. Here we describe modifications to the Bio-Rad Helios Gene Gun that, along with an optimized protocol, improve transfection of bullfrog, chick, and mouse hair cells. The increased penetrating power afforded by our method allowed us to transfect mouse hair cells from the basal side, through the basilar membrane; this configuration protects hair bundles from damage during the procedure. We characterized the efficiency of transfection of mouse hair cells with fluorescently-tagged actin fusion protein using both the optimized procedure and a published procedure; while the efficiency of the two methods was similar, the morphology of transfected hair cells was improved with the new procedure. In addition, using the improved method, we were able to transfect hair cells in the bullfrog sacculus and chick cochlea for the first time. We used fluorescent-protein fusions of harmonin b (USH1C) and PMCA2 (ATP2B2; plasma-membrane Ca2+-ATPase isoform 2) to examine protein distribution in hair cells. While PMCA2-EGFP localization was similar to endogenous PMCA2 detected with antibodies, high levels of harmonin-EGFP were found at stereocilia tapers in bullfrog and chick, but not mouse; by contrast, harmonin-EGFP was concentrated in stereocilia tips in mouse hair cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)