UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

A genetic basis for mechanosensory traits in humans.


Frenzel, H; Bohlender, J; Pinsker, K; Wohlleben, B; Tank, J; Lechner, S G; Schiska, D; Jaijo, T; Rüschendorf, F; Saar, K; Jordan, J; Millán, J M; Gross, M; Lewin, G R (2012). A genetic basis for mechanosensory traits in humans. PLoS Biology, 10(5):e1001318.

Abstract

In all vertebrates hearing and touch represent two distinct sensory systems that both rely on the transformation of mechanical force into electrical signals. There is an extensive literature describing single gene mutations in humans that cause hearing impairment, but there are essentially none for touch. Here we first asked if touch sensitivity is a heritable trait and second whether there are common genes that influence different mechanosensory senses like hearing and touch in humans. Using a classical twin study design we demonstrate that touch sensitivity and touch acuity are highly heritable traits. Quantitative phenotypic measures of different mechanosensory systems revealed significant correlations between touch and hearing acuity in a healthy human population. Thus mutations in genes causing deafness genes could conceivably negatively influence touch sensitivity. In agreement with this hypothesis we found that a proportion of a cohort of congenitally deaf young adults display significantly impaired measures of touch sensitivity compared to controls. In contrast, blind individuals showed enhanced, not diminished touch acuity. Finally, by examining a cohort of patients with Usher syndrome, a genetically well-characterized deaf-blindness syndrome, we could show that recessive pathogenic mutations in the USH2A gene influence touch acuity. Control Usher syndrome cohorts lacking demonstrable pathogenic USH2A mutations showed no impairment in touch acuity. Our study thus provides comprehensive evidence that there are common genetic elements that contribute to touch and hearing and has identified one of these genes as USH2A.

Abstract

In all vertebrates hearing and touch represent two distinct sensory systems that both rely on the transformation of mechanical force into electrical signals. There is an extensive literature describing single gene mutations in humans that cause hearing impairment, but there are essentially none for touch. Here we first asked if touch sensitivity is a heritable trait and second whether there are common genes that influence different mechanosensory senses like hearing and touch in humans. Using a classical twin study design we demonstrate that touch sensitivity and touch acuity are highly heritable traits. Quantitative phenotypic measures of different mechanosensory systems revealed significant correlations between touch and hearing acuity in a healthy human population. Thus mutations in genes causing deafness genes could conceivably negatively influence touch sensitivity. In agreement with this hypothesis we found that a proportion of a cohort of congenitally deaf young adults display significantly impaired measures of touch sensitivity compared to controls. In contrast, blind individuals showed enhanced, not diminished touch acuity. Finally, by examining a cohort of patients with Usher syndrome, a genetically well-characterized deaf-blindness syndrome, we could show that recessive pathogenic mutations in the USH2A gene influence touch acuity. Control Usher syndrome cohorts lacking demonstrable pathogenic USH2A mutations showed no impairment in touch acuity. Our study thus provides comprehensive evidence that there are common genetic elements that contribute to touch and hearing and has identified one of these genes as USH2A.

Citations

20 citations in Web of Science®
20 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

78 downloads since deposited on 19 Dec 2012
25 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Otorhinolaryngology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:19 Dec 2012 13:06
Last Modified:04 Jul 2016 11:37
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1544-9173
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1001318
PubMed ID:22563300

Download

[img]
Preview
Content: Published Version
Language: English
Filetype: PDF
Size: 378kB
View at publisher
Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

TrendTerms

TrendTerms displays relevant terms of the abstract of this publication and related documents on a map. The terms and their relations were extracted from ZORA using word statistics. Their timelines are taken from ZORA as well. The bubble size of a term is proportional to the number of documents where the term occurs. Red, orange, yellow and green colors are used for terms that occur in the current document; red indicates high interlinkedness of a term with other terms, orange, yellow and green decreasing interlinkedness. Blue is used for terms that have a relation with the terms in this document, but occur in other documents.
You can navigate and zoom the map. Mouse-hovering a term displays its timeline, clicking it yields the associated documents.

Author Collaborations