The senses of hearing and balance in vertebrates rely on the sensory hair cells (HCs) of the inner ear. The central element of the HC's transduction apparatus is a mechanically gated ion channel of unknown identity. Here we report that the zebrafish ortholog of Drosophila no mechanoreceptor potential C (nompC), which encodes a transient receptor potential (TRP) channel, is critical for HC mechanotransduction. In zebrafish larvae, nompC is selectively expressed in sensory HCs. Morpholino-mediated removal of nompC function eliminated transduction-dependent endocytosis and etectrical responses in HCs, resulting in larval deafness and imbalance. These observations indicate that nompC encodes a vertebrate HC mechanotransduction channel.
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