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8. Formation of inner ear neurons during development and adulthood

The vertebrate inner ear provides hearing and balance due to a complex arrangement of sensory hair cells, supporting cells and neurons. All these cell types derive from the otic placode, a transient ectodermal thickening adjacent to the developing hindbrain. Following induction, the otic placode develops into a vesicle where hair cells and neuronal precursors are born that require the activation of the proneural proteins Atoh1 and Neurog1. We are interested in the genes and signaling pathways controlling sensory and in particular neuronal precursor formation upstream of the proneural proteins during development and adulthood.

Scientists involved: Dr. Stefan Hans

Related publications:
L├ęger S, Brand M. (2002); Fgf8 and Fgf3 are required for zebrafish ear placode induction, maintenance and inner ear patterning. Mech Dev. 119: 91-108.

Hans, S., Liu, D. and Westerfield, M. (2004); Pax8 and Pax2a function synergistically in otic specification, downstream of the Foxi1 and Dlx3b transcription factors. Development 131, 5091-5102.

Hans, S., Christison J., Liu D. and Westerfield, M. (2007); Fgf-dependent otic induction requires competence provided by Foxi1 and Dlx3b. BMC Dev Biol. 19, 7:5.

Hans, S. and Westerfield, M. (2007); Changes in retinoic acid signaling alter otic patterning. Development 134, 2449-58

Hans S, Irmscher A, Brand M. (2013) Zebrafish Foxi1 provides a neuronal ground state  during inner ear induction preceding the Dlx3b/4b-regulated sensory lineage. Development. 140(9):1936-45.

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