Sound waves are converted into electrical signals by a process of mechano-electrical transduction (MET), which takes place in the hair bundle of cochlear hair cells. In response to the mechanical stimulus of the hair bundle, the tip-links, key components of the MET machinery, are tensioned and the MET channels open, which results in the generation of the cell receptor potential. Tip-links are composed of cadherin-23 (Cdh23) and protocadherin-15 (Pcdh15), both non-conventional cadherins, that form the upper and the lower part of these links, respectively. Here, we review the various Pcdh15 isoforms present in the organ of Corti, their localization in the auditory hair bundles, their involvement in the molecular complex forming the tip-link, and their interactions with transmembrane molecules that are components of the lower MET machinery.
This article is part of a Special Issue entitled < IEB Kyoto >.