Mutations of gap junction connexin genes induce a high incidence of nonsyndromic hearing loss. Pannexin genes also encode gap junctional proteins in vertebrates. Recent studies demonstrated that Pannexin-1 (Panx1) deficiency in mice and mutation in humans are also associated with hearing loss. So far, several Panx1 knockout (KO) mouse lines were established. In general, these Panx1 KO mouse lines demonstrate consistent phenotypes in most aspects, including hearing loss. However, a recent study reported that a Panx1 KO mouse line, which was created by Genentech Inc., had no hearing loss as measured by the auditory brainstem response (ABR) threshold at low-frequency range (< 24 kHz). Here, we used multiple auditory function tests and re-examined hearing function in the Genentech Panx1 (Gen-Panx1) KO mouse. We found that ABR thresholds in the Gen-Panx1 KO mouse were significantly increased, in particular, in the high-frequency region. Moreover, consistent with the increase in ABR threshold, distortion product otoacoustic emission (DPOAE) and cochlear microphonics (CM), which reflect active cochlear amplification and auditory receptor current, respectively, were significantly reduced. These data demonstrated that the Gen-Panx1 KO mouse has hearing loss and further confirmed that Panx1 deficiency can cause deafness.

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Published in International Journal of Molecular Sciences, v. 19, issue 5, 1332, p. 1-11.

© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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This work was supported by NIH R01 DC005989, DC017025, and R56 DC015019 to H.-B.Z, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81600795) to L.Z. and (No. 81500791) to J.C.