The organ of Corti (OC) in the cochlea plays an essential role in auditory signal transduction in the inner ear. For its minute size and trace amount of proteins, the identification of the molecules in pathophysiologic processes in the bone-encapsulated OC requires both delicate separation and a highly sensitive analytical tool. Previously, we reported the development of a high resolution metal-free nanoscale liquid chromatography system for highly sensitive phosphoproteomic analysis. Here this system was coupled with a LTQ-Orbitrap XL mass spectrometer to investigate the OC proteome from normal hearing FVB/N male mice. A total of 628 proteins were identified from six replicates of single LC-MS/MS analysis, with a false discovery rate of 1% using the decoy database approach by the OMSSA search engine. This is currently the largest proteome dataset for the OC. A total of 11 proteins, including cochlin, myosin VI, and myosin IX, were identified that when defective are associated with hearing impairment or loss. This study demonstrated the effectiveness of our nanoLC-MS/MS platform for sensitive identification of hearing loss-associated proteins from minute amount of tissue samples.
The article is published online in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences and is free to access.