Fgf8 induces pillar cell fate and regulates cellular patterning in the mammalian cochlea

Section on Developmental Neuroscience, Porter Neuroscience Research Center, 35 Convent Dr, Room 2A-100, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
Development (Impact Factor: 6.27). 09/2007; 134(16):3021-9. DOI: 10.1242/dev.02874
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The mammalian auditory sensory epithelium (the organ of Corti) contains a number of unique cell types that are arranged in ordered rows. Two of these cell types, inner and outer pillar cells (PCs), are arranged in adjacent rows that form a boundary between a single row of inner hair cells and three rows of outer hair cells (OHCs). PCs are required for auditory function, as mice lacking PCs owing to a mutation in Fgfr3 are deaf. Here, using in vitro and in vivo techniques, we demonstrate that an Fgf8 signal arising from the inner hair cells is the key component in an inductive pathway that regulates the number, position and rate of development of PCs. Deletion of Fgf8 or inhibition of binding between Fgf8 and Fgfr3 leads to defects in PC development, whereas overexpression of Fgf8 or exogenous Fgfr3 activation induces ectopic PC formation and inhibits OHC development. These results suggest that Fgf8-Fgfr3 interactions regulate cellular patterning within the organ of Corti through the induction of one cell fate (PC) and simultaneous inhibition of an alternate fate (OHC) in separate progenitor cells. Some of the effects of both inhibition and overactivation of the Fgf8-Fgfr3 signaling pathway are reversible, suggesting that PC differentiation is dependent upon constant activation of Fgfr3 by Fgf8. These results suggest that PCs might exist in a transient state of differentiation that makes them potential targets for regenerative therapies.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The development of hair cells in the auditory system can be separated into steps; first, the establishment of progenitors for the sensory epithelium, and second, the differentiation of hair cells. Although the differentiation of hair cells is known to require the expression of basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor, Atoh1, the control of cell proliferation in the region of the developing cochlea that will ultimately become the sensory epithelium and the cues that initiate Atoh1 expression remain obscure. We assessed the role of Wnt/β-catenin in both steps in gain- and loss-of-function models in mice. The canonical Wnt pathway mediator, β-catenin, controls the expression of Atoh1. Knock-out of β-catenin inhibited hair-cell, as well as pillar-cell, differentiation from sensory progenitors but was not required to maintain a hair-cell fate once specified. Constitutive activation of β-catenin expanded sensory progenitors by inducing additional cell division and resulted in the differentiation of extra hair cells. Our data demonstrate that β-catenin plays a role in cell division and differentiation in the cochlear sensory epithelium.
    The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 05/2014; 34(19):6470-9. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4305-13.2014 · 6.75 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The membranous labyrinth of the inner ear is a highly complex organ that detects sound and balance. Developmental defects in the inner ear cause congenital hearing loss and balance disorders. The membranous labyrinth consists of three semicircular ducts, the utricle, saccule, and endolymphatic ducts, and the cochlear duct. These complex structures develop from the simple otic placode, which is established in the cranial ectoderm adjacent to the neural crest at the level of the hindbrain at the early neurula stage. During development, the otic placode invaginates to form the otic vesicle, which subsequently gives rise to neurons for the vestibulocochlear ganglion, the non-sensory and sensory epithelia of the membranous labyrinth that includes three ampullary crests, two maculae, and the organ of Corti. Combined paracrine and autocrine signals including fibroblast growth factor, Wnt, retinoic acid, hedgehog, and bone morphogenetic protein regulate fate determination, axis formation, and morphogenesis in the developing inner ear. Juxtacrine signals mediated by Notch pathways play a role in establishing the sensory epithelium, which consists of mechanosensory hair cells and supporting cells. The highly differentiated organ of Corti, which consists of uniformly oriented inner/outer hair cells and specific supporting cells, develops during fetal development. Developmental alterations/arrest causes congenital malformations in the inner ear in a spatiotemporal-restricted manner. A clearer understanding of the mechanisms underlying inner ear development is important not only for the management of patients with congenital inner ear malformations, but also for the development of regenerative therapy for impaired function.
    Congenital Anomalies 07/2014; 55(1). DOI:10.1111/cga.12072
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Atoh1 is a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor that controls differentiation of hair cells (HCs) in the inner ear and its enhancer region has been used to create several HC-specific mouse lines. We generated a transgenic tetracycline-inducible mouse line (called Atoh1-rtTA) using the Atoh1 enhancer to drive expression of the reverse tetracycline transactivator (rtTA) protein and human placental alkaline phosphatase. Presence of the transgene was confirmed by alkaline phosphatase staining and rtTA activity was measured using two tetracycline operator (TetO) reporter alleles with doxycycline administered between postnatal days 0-3. This characterization of five founder lines demonstrated that Atoh1-rtTA is expressed in the majority of cochlear and utricular HCs. Although the tetracycline-inducible system is thought to produce transient changes in gene expression, reporter positive HCs were still observed at 6 weeks of age. To confirm that Atoh1-rtTA activity was specific to Atoh1-expressing cells, we also analyzed the cerebellum and found rtTA-driven reporter expression in cerebellar granule neuron precursor cells. The Atoh1-rtTA mouse line provides a powerful tool for the field and can be used in combination with other existing Cre recombinase mouse lines to manipulate expression of multiple genes at different times in the same animal.
    Scientific Reports 11/2014; 4:6885. DOI:10.1038/srep06885 · 5.08 Impact Factor