Title

Mutation in the kv3.3 voltage-gated potassium channel causing spinocerebellar ataxia 13 disrupts sound-localization mechanisms

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Normal sound localization requires precise comparisons of sound timing and pressure levels between the two ears. The primary localization cues are interaural time differences, ITD, and interaural level differences, ILD. Voltage-gated potassium channels, including Kv3.3, are highly expressed in the auditory brainstem and are thought to underlie the exquisite temporal precision and rapid spike rates that characterize brainstem binaural pathways. An autosomal dominant mutation in the gene encoding Kv3.3 has been demonstrated in a large Filipino kindred manifesting as spinocerebellar ataxia type 13 (SCA13). This kindred provides a rare opportunity to test in vivo the importance of a specific channel subunit for human hearing. Here, we demonstrate psychophysically that individuals with the mutant allele exhibit profound deficits in both ITD and ILD sensitivity, despite showing no obvious impairment in pure-tone sensitivity with either ear. Surprisingly, several individuals exhibited the auditory deficits even though they were pre-symptomatic for SCA13. We would expect that impairments of binaural processing as great as those observed in this family would result in prominent deficits in localization of sound sources and in loss of the "spatial release from masking" that aids in understanding speech in the presence of competing sounds.

Medical Subject Headings

Adolescent; Adult; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Auditory Threshold; Child; Cues; Female; Genes, Dominant; Hearing (genetics, physiology); Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Mutation; Shaw Potassium Channels (genetics, physiology); Signal Transduction (genetics, physiology); Sound Localization; Spinocerebellar Ataxias (congenital); Spinocerebellar Degenerations (genetics, physiopathology); Young Adult

Publication Date

1-1-2013

Publication Title

PloS one

E-ISSN

1932-6203

Volume

8

Issue

10

First Page

e76749

PubMed ID

24116147

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1371/journal.pone.0076749

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