Distinct expression patterns of notch family receptors and ligands during development of the mammalian inner ear

A K Lewis, G D Frantz, D A Carpenter, F J de Sauvage, W Q Gao
Mechanisms of Development 1998, 78 (1-2): 159-63
The cochlea and vestibular structures of the inner ear labyrinth develop from the otic capsule via step-wise regional and cell fate specification. Each inner ear structure contains a sensory epithelium, composed of hair cells, the mechanosensory transducers, and supporting cells. We examined the spatio-temporal expression of genes in the Notch signaling pathway, Notch receptors (Notch1-4) and two ligands, Jagged1 and Delta1, in the developing mammalian inner ear. Our results show that Notch1 and Jagged1 are first expressed in the otic vesicle, likely involved in differentiation of the VIIIth nerve ganglion neurons, and subsequently within the inner ear sensory epithelia, temporally coincident with initial hair cell differentiation. Notch1 expression is specific to hair cells and Jagged1 to supporting cells. Their expression persists into adult. Notch2, Notch3, Notch4, and Delta1 are excluded from the inner ear epithelia. These data support the hypothesis that Notch signaling is involved in hair cell differentiation during inner ear morphogenesis.

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