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Dev Biol 2001 May 15;2332:365-79. doi: 10.1006/dbio.2001.0211.
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Origins of inner ear sensory organs revealed by fate map and time-lapse analyses.

Kil SH , Collazo A .

The inner ear develops from a simple ectodermal thickening called the otic placode into a labyrinth of chambers which house sensory organs that sense sound and are used to maintain balance. Although the morphology and function of the sensory organs are well characterized, their origins and lineage relationships are virtually unknown. In this study, we generated a fate map of Xenopus laevis inner ear at otic placode and otocyst stages to determine the developmental origins of the sensory organs. Our lineage analysis shows that all regions of the otic placode and otocyst can give rise to the sensory organs of the inner ear, though there were differences between labeled quadrants in the range of derivatives formed. A given region often gives rise to cells in multiple sensory organs, including cells that apparently dispersed from anterior to posterior poles and vice versa. These results suggest that a single sensory organ arises from cells in different parts of the placode or otocyst and that cell mixing plays a large role in ear development. Time-lapse videomicroscopy provides further evidence that cells from opposite regions of the inner ear mix during the development of the inner ear, and this mixing begins at placode stages. Lastly, bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP-4), a member of the transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) family, is expressed in all sensory organs of the frog inner ear, as it is in the developing chicken ear. Inner ear fate maps provide a context for interpreting gene expression patterns and embryological manipulations.

PubMed ID: 11336501
Article link: Dev Biol

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: bmp4 tgfb1

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