[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mammalian inner ear contains sensory organs, the organ of Corti in the cochlea and cristae and maculae in the vestibule, with each comprised of patterned sensory epithelia that are responsible for hearing and balance. The development, cell fate, patterning, and innervation of both the sensory and nonsensory regions of the inner ear are governed by tight regulation involving, among others, transcription factors and microRNAs (miRNAs). In humans, mutations in specific miRNA genes are associated with hearing loss. In mice, experimental reduction or mutations of miRNAs in the inner ear leads to severe developmental and structural abnormalities. A comprehensive identification of miRNAs in the sensory epithelia and their gene targets will enable pathways of auditory and vestibular function to be defined.
In this study, we used Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) to identify the most prominent miRNAs in the inner ear and to define miRNA-target pairs that form pathways crucial for the function of the sensory epithelial cells. NGS of RNA from inner ear sensory epithelial cells led to the identification of 455 miRNAs in both cochlear and vestibular sensory epithelium, with 30 and 44 miRNAs found in only cochlea or vestibule, respectively. miR-6715-3p and miR-6715-5p were defined for the first time in the inner ear. Gene targets were identified for each of these miRNAs, including Arhgap12, a GTPase activating protein, for miR-6715-3p, implicating this miRNA in sensory hair cell bundle development, actin reorganization, cell adhesion and inner ear morphogenesis.
This study provides a comprehensive atlas of miRNAs in the inner ear sensory epithelia. The results provide further support of the essential regulatory role of miRNAs in inner ear sensory epithelia and in regulating pathways that define development and growth of these cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: microRNAs (miRNAs) are regulators of differentiation and development of inner ear cells. Mutations in miRNAs lead to deafness in humans and mice. Among inner ear pathologies, inflammation may lead to structural and neuronal defects and eventually to hearing loss and vestibular dysfunction. While the genetic factors of these pathways have not been defined, autoimmunity participates in these processes. We report that inflammatory stimuli in the inner ear induce activation of the innate immune system via miR-224 and pentraxin 3 (Ptx3). miR-224 is a transcriptional target of NF-κB, a key mediator of innate immunity. Ptx3 is a regulator of the immune response. It is released in response to inflammation and regulated by NF-κB. miR-224 diminishes the innate immune response by downregulating Ptx3 expression, while Ptx3 stimulates the innate immune response. We show that miR-224 and Ptx3 are expressed in the inner ear and we demonstrate that miR-224 targets Ptx3. As a model of the innate immune response, we injected lipopolysaccharide (LPS) into the scala tympani of mouse inner ears. This resulted in changes in the levels of miR-224 and Ptx3, in addition to activation of the complement system, as measured by immune cell infiltration and activated C3. This suggests that while miR-224 regulates Ptx3 under normal conditions, upon inflammation, both are recruited to offer a front line of defense in acting as responders to inflammation in the inner ear. An understanding of the molecular components of the inflammatory pathway may help develop therapeutics for reducing inflammation associated with inner ear injury.
Preview · Article · Jan 2014 · Human Molecular Genetics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Non-coding microRNAs (miRNAs) have a fundamental role in gene regulation and expression in almost every multicellular organism. Only discovered in the last decade, miRNAs are already known to play a leading role in many aspects of disease. In the vertebrate inner ear, miRNAs are essential for controlling development and survival of hair cells. Moreover, dysregulation of miRNAs has been implicated in sensorineural hearing impairment, as well as in other ear diseases such as cholesteatomas, vestibular schwannomas, and otitis media. Due to the inaccessibility of the ear in humans, animal models have provided the optimal tools to study miRNA expression and function, in particular mice and zebrafish. A major focus of current research has been to discover the targets of the miRNAs expressed in the inner ear, in order to determine the regulatory pathways of the auditory and vestibular systems. The potential for miRNAs manipulation in development of therapeutic tools for hearing impairment is as yet unexplored, paving the way for future work in the field.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Histogenesis of the auditory system requires extensive molecular orchestration. Recently, Dicer1, an essential gene for generation of microRNAs, and miR-96 were shown to be important for development of the peripheral auditory system. Here, we investigated their role for the formation of the auditory brainstem. Egr2::Cre-mediated early embryonic ablation of Dicer1 caused severe disruption of auditory brainstem structures. In adult animals, the volume of the cochlear nucleus complex (CNC) was reduced by 73.5%. This decrease is in part attributed to the lack of the microneuronal shell. In contrast, fusiform cells, which similar to the granular cells of the microneural shell are derived from Egr2 positive cells, were still present. The volume reduction of the CNC was already present at birth (67.2% decrease). The superior olivary complex was also drastically affected in these mice. Nissl staining as well as Vglut1 and Calbindin 1 immunolabeling revealed that principal SOC nuclei such as the medial nucleus of the trapezoid body and the lateral superior olive were absent. Only choline acetyltransferase positive neurons of the olivocochlear bundle were observed as a densely packed cell group in the ventrolateral area of the SOC. Mid-embryonic ablation of Dicer1 in the ventral cochlear nucleus by Atoh7::Cre-mediated recombination resulted in normal formation of the cochlear nucleus complex, indicating an early embryonic requirement of Dicer1. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis of miR-96 demonstrated low expression in the embryonic brainstem and up-regulation thereafter, suggesting that other microRNAs are required for proper histogenesis of the auditory brainstem. Together our data identify a critical role of Dicer activity during embryonic development of the auditory brainstem.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression through the RNA interference (RNAi) pathway and by inhibition of mRNA translation. miRNAs first made their appearance in the auditory and vestibular systems in 2005, with the discovery of a triad of hair cell-specific miRNAs later found to be involved in both human and mouse deafness. Since then, miRNAs have been implicated in other medical conditions related to these systems, such as cholesteatomas, vestibular schwannomas and otitis media. Due to the limitations in studying miRNAs and their targets derived from human inner ears, animal models are vital in this field of research. Therefore their role in inner ear development and function has been demonstrated by studies in zebrafish and mice. Transcriptomic and proteomic approaches have been undertaken to identify miRNAs and their targets. Finally, it has been suggested that miRNAs may be used in the future in regeneration of inner ear hair cells and ultimately play a role in therapeutics.
Preview · Article · Sep 2012 · EMBO Molecular Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have employed a novel approach for the identification of functionally important microRNA (miRNA)-target interactions, integrating miRNA, transcriptome and proteome profiles and advanced in silico analysis using the FAME algorithm. Since miRNAs play a crucial role in the inner ear, demonstrated by the discovery of mutations in a miRNA leading to human and mouse deafness, we applied this approach to microdissected auditory and vestibular sensory epithelia. We detected the expression of 157 miRNAs in the inner ear sensory epithelia, with 53 miRNAs differentially expressed between the cochlea and vestibule. Functionally important miRNAs were determined by searching for enriched or depleted targets in the transcript and protein datasets with an expression consistent with the dogma of miRNA regulation. Importantly, quite a few of the targets were detected only in the protein datasets, attributable to regulation by translational suppression. We identified and experimentally validated the regulation of PSIP1-P75, a transcriptional co-activator previously unknown in the inner ear, by miR-135b, in vestibular hair cells. Our findings suggest that miR-135b serves as a cellular effector, involved in regulating some of the differences between the cochlear and vestibular hair cells.