Stria vascularis of the mammalian cochlea transports K+ to establish the electrochemical property in the endolymph crucial for hearing. This epithelial tissue also transports various small molecules. To clarify the profile of proteins participating in the transport system in the stria vascularis, membrane components purified from the stria of adult rats were analysed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Of the 3236 proteins detected in the analysis, 1807 were membrane proteins. Ingenuity Knowledge Base and literature data identified 513 proteins as being expressed on the 'plasma membrane', these included 25 ion channels and 79 transporters. Sixteen of the former and 62 of the latter had not yet been identified in the stria. Unexpectedly, many Cl- and Ca2+ transport systems were found, suggesting that the dynamics of these ions play multiple roles. Several transporters for organic substances were also detected. Network analysis demonstrated that a few kinases, including protein kinase A, and Ca2+ were key regulators for the strial transports. In the library of channels and transporters, 19 new candidates for uncloned deafness-related genes were identified. These resources provide a platform for understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the epithelial transport essential for cochlear function and the pathophysiological processes involved in hearing disorders.
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