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The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is a useful model system for analyzing development of the inner ear. A number of mutations affecting the inner ear have been identified. Here we investigate the initial stages of otolith morphogenesis in wild-type embryos as well as in monolith (mnl) mutant embryos, which fail to form anterior otoliths but otherwise appear(More)
Hair cells of the inner ear develop from an equivalence group marked by expression of the proneural gene Atoh1. In mouse, Atoh1 is necessary for hair cell differentiation, but its role in specifying the equivalence group (proneural function) has been questioned and little is known about its upstream activators. We have addressed these issues in zebrafish.(More)
Members of the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) family of peptide ligands have been implicated in otic placode induction in several vertebrate species. Here, we have functionally analyzed the roles of fgf3 and fgf8 in zebrafish otic development. The role of fgf8 was assessed by analyzing acerebellar (ace) mutants. fgf3 function was disrupted by injecting(More)
Induction of the otic placode, which gives rise to all tissues comprising the inner ear, is a fundamental aspect of vertebrate development. A number of studies indicate that fibroblast growth factor (Fgf), especially Fgf3, is necessary and sufficient for otic induction. However, an alternative model proposes that Fgf must cooperate with Wnt8 to induce otic(More)
The vertebrate inner ear is a marvel of structural and functional complexity, which is all the more remarkable because it develops from such a simple structure, the otic placode. Analysis of inner ear development has long been a fascination of experimental embryologists, who sought to understand cellular mechanisms of otic placode induction. More recently,(More)
Abstract Recent years have seen a renaissance of investigation into the mechanisms of inner ear development. Genetic analysis of zebrafish has contributed significantly to this endeavour, with several dramatic advances reported over the past year or two. Here, we review the major findings from recent work in zebrafish. Several cellular and molecular(More)
The vertebrate hindbrain develops from a series of segments (rhombomeres) distributed along the anteroposterior axis. We are studying the roles of Wnt and Delta-Notch signaling in maintaining rhombomere boundaries as organizing centers in the zebrafish hindbrain. Several wnt genes (wnt1, wnt3a, wnt8b, and wnt10b) show elevated expression at rhombomere(More)
Atoh1 is required for differentiation of sensory hair cells in the vertebrate inner ear. Moreover, misexpression of Atoh1 is sufficient to establish ectopic sensory epithelia, making Atoh1 a good candidate for gene therapy to restore hearing. However, competence to form sensory epithelia appears to be limited to discrete regions of the inner ear. To better(More)
Sox2 has been variously implicated in maintenance of pluripotent stem cells or, alternatively, early stages of cell differentiation, depending on context. In the developing inner ear, Sox2 initially marks all cells in the nascent sensory epithelium and, in mouse, is required for sensory epithelium formation. Sox2 is eventually downregulated in hair cells(More)
Neuroblasts of the statoacoustic ganglion (SAG) initially form in the floor of the otic vesicle during a relatively brief developmental window. They soon delaminate and undergo a protracted phase of proliferation and migration (transit-amplification). Neuroblasts eventually differentiate and extend processes bi-directionally to synapse with hair cells in(More)