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Anat Cell Biol. 2011 Mar;44(1):69-78. English. Original Article.
Yoon H , Lee DJ , Kim MH , Bok J .
Department of Anatomy, Brain Korea 21 Project for Medical Science, College of Medicine, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea.

The inner ear is composed of a cochlear duct and five vestibular organs in which mechanosensory hair cells play critical roles in receiving and relaying sound and balance signals to the brain. To identify novel genes associated with hair cell differentiation or function, we analyzed an archived gene expression dataset from embryonic mouse inner ear tissues. Since atonal homolog 1a (Atoh1) is a well known factor required for hair cell differentiation, we searched for genes expressed in a similar pattern with Atoh1 during inner ear development. The list from our analysis includes many genes previously reported to be involved in hair cell differentiation such as Myo6, Tecta, Myo7a, Cdh23, Atp6v1b1, and Gfi1. In addition, we identified many other genes that have not been associated with hair cell differentiation, including Tekt2, Spag6, Smpx, Lmod1, Myh7b, Kif9, Ttyh1, Scn11a and Cnga2. We examined expression patterns of some of the newly identified genes using real-time polymerase chain reaction and in situ hybridization. For example, Smpx and Tekt2, which are regulators for cytoskeletal dynamics, were shown specifically expressed in the hair cells, suggesting a possible role in hair cell differentiation or function. Here, by reanalyzing archived genetic profiling data, we identified a list of novel genes possibly involved in hair cell differentiation.

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