Insights into the Biology of Hearing and Deafness Revealed by Single-Cell RNA Sequencing

Paul T. Ranum, Alexander T. Goodwin, Hidekane Yoshimura, Diana L. Kolbe, William D. Walls, Jin Young Koh, David Z.Z. He, Richard J.H. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Single-cell RNA sequencing is a powerful tool by which to characterize the transcriptional profile of low-abundance cell types, but its application to the inner ear has been hampered by the bony labyrinth, tissue sparsity, and difficulty dissociating the ultra-rare cells of the membranous cochlea. Herein, we present a method to isolate individual inner hair cells (IHCs), outer hair cells (OHCs), and Deiters’ cells (DCs) from the murine cochlea at any post-natal time point. We harvested more than 200 murine IHCs, OHCs, and DCs from post-natal days 15 (p15) to 228 (p228) and leveraged both short- and long-read single-cell RNA sequencing to profile transcript abundance and structure. Our results provide insights into the expression profiles of these cells and document an unappreciated complexity in isoform variety in deafness-associated genes. This refined view of transcription in the organ of Corti improves our understanding of the biology of hearing and deafness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3160-3171.e3
JournalCell Reports
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 12 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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