Margaret C. Wright

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Atoh1 function is required for the earliest stages of inner ear hair cell development, which begins during the second week of gestation. Atoh1 expression in developing hair cells continues until early postnatal ages, but the function of this late expression is unknown. To test the role of continued Atoh1 expression in hair cell maturation we conditionally(More)
Resident progenitor cells in mammalian skin generate new cells as a part of tissue homeostasis. We sought to identify the progenitors of Merkel cells, a unique skin cell type that plays critical roles in mechanosensation. We found that some Atoh1-expressing cells in the hairy skin and whisker follicles are mitotically active at embryonic and postnatal ages.(More)
UNLABELLED The extent to which the skin instructs peripheral somatosensory neuron maturation is unknown. We studied this question in Merkel cell-neurite complexes, where slowly adapting type I (SAI) neurons innervate skin-derived Merkel cells. Transgenic mice lacking Merkel cells had normal dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neuron numbers, but fewer DRG neurons(More)
Merkel cells are mechanosensitive skin cells whose production requires the basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor Atoh1. We induced ectopic Atoh1 expression in the skin of transgenic mice to determine whether Atoh1 was sufficient to create additional Merkel cells. In embryos, ectopic Atoh1 expression drove ectopic expression of the Merkel cell marker(More)
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