In-depth genetic and molecular characterization of diaphanous related formin 2 (DIAPH2) and its role in the inner ear

Chiara Chiereghin, Michela Robusto, Morag A. Lewis, Susana Caetano, Valentina Massa, Pierangela Castorina, Umberto Ambrosetti, Karen P. Steel, Stefano Duga, Rosanna Asselta, Giulia Soldà*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Diaphanous related formins are regulatory cytoskeletal protein involved in actin elongation and microtubule stabilization. In humans, defects in two of the three diaphanous genes (DIAPH1 and DIAPH3) have been associated with different types of hearing loss. Here, we investigate the role of the third member of the family, DIAPH2, in nonsyndromic hearing loss, prompted by the identification, by exome sequencing, of a predicted pathogenic missense variant in DIAPH2. This variant occurs at a conserved site and segregated with nonsyndromic X-linked hearing loss in an Italian family. Our immunohistochemical studies indicated that the mouse ortholog protein Diaph2 is expressed during development in the cochlea, specifically in the actin-rich stereocilia of the sensory outer hair cells. In-vitro studies showed a functional impairment of the mutant DIAPH2 protein upon RhoA-dependent activation. Finally, Diaph2 knock-out and knock-in mice were generated by CRISPR/Cas9 technology and auditory brainstem response measurements performed at 4, 8 and 14 weeks. However, no hearing impairment was detected. Our findings indicate that DIAPH2 may play a role in the inner ear; further studies are however needed to clarify the contribution of DIAPH2 to deafness.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0273586
Number of pages22
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2023


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