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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)
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)
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)
Preplacodal ectoderm arises near the end of gastrulation as a narrow band of cells surrounding the anterior neural plate. This domain later resolves into discrete cranial placodes that, together with neural crest, produce paired sensory structures of the head. Unlike the better-characterized neural crest, little is known about early regulation of(More)
CAtion/H(+) eXchangers (CAXs) are integral membrane proteins that transport Ca(2+) or other cations by exchange with protons. While several yeast and plant CAX proteins have been characterized, no functional analysis of a vertebrate CAX homologue has yet been reported. In this study, we further characterize a CAX from yeast, VNX1, and initiate(More)
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