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Lin Z.,Nanjing University | Lin Z.,University of Washington | Perez P.,University of Washington | Sun Z.,Nantong University | And 7 more authors.
Otology and Neurotology | Year: 2012

HYPOTHESIS: Adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can be converted into hair cell-like cells by transdetermination. BACKGROUND: Given the fundamental role sensory hair cells play in sound detection and the irreversibility of their loss in mammals, much research has focused on developing methods to generate new hair cells as a means of treating permanent hearing loss. Although MSCs can differentiate into multiple cell lineages, no efficient means of reprogramming them into sensory hair cells exists. Earlier work has shown that the transcription factor Atoh1 is necessary for early development of hair cells, but it is not clear whether Atoh1 can be used to convert MSCs into hair cells. METHODS: Clonal MSC cell lines were established and reprogrammed into hair cell-like cells by a combination of protein transfer, adenoviral based gene transfer, and co-culture with neurons. During transdetermination, inner ear molecular markers were analyzed using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, and cell structures were examined using immunocytochemistry. RESULTS: Atoh1 overexpression in MSCs failed to convert MSCs into hair cell-like cells, suggesting that the ability of Atoh1 to induce hair cell differentiation is context dependent. Because Atoh1 overexpression successfully transforms VOT-E36 cells into hair cell-like cells, we modified the cell context of MSCs by performing a total protein transfer from VOT-E36 cells before overexpressing Atoh1. The modified MSCs were transformed into hair cell-like cells and attracted contacts from spiral ganglion neurons in a co-culture model. CONCLUSION: We established a new procedure, consisting of VOT-E36 protein transfer, Atoh1 overexpression, and co-culture with spiral ganglion neurons, which can transform MSCs into hair cell-like cells. © 2012 Otology & Neurotology, Inc. Source


Furness D.N.,Keele University | Hackney C.M.,Addison Building | Evans M.G.,Keele University
Journal of Physiology | Year: 2010

Our sense of hearing and balance relies on the very rapid gating of mechanotransducer channels known to be located close to the tops of the hair cell stereocilia within the stereociliary bundle. The molecular identity of the channels is unknown but functional aspects such as permeation, block and sensitivity to bundle displacement are well known. The channel has high calcium permeability and this feature has been used in conjunction with fast confocal calcium imaging to unambiguously localise the channels at the top of the two shorter rows of stereocilia in mammalian cochlear hair cells. The data suggest that they are completely absent from the tallest row. It is thought that the structures connecting stereocilia in adjacent rows, the tip links, are either directly responsible for the channel's mechanical gating, or are closely associated with the gating process. The channels must therefore be associated with the bottom part of the tip links and not the top. This feature has important implications for both the channel's gating mechanism and its regulatory adaptation mechanism. The tip link remains an attractive candidate for mechanical coupling between the bundle and the channel or an accessory protein. The localisation of the mechanotransducer channels to the lower end of the tip link represents an important milestone in the journey towards eventual identification of the channel and its gating mechanism. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 The Physiological Society. Source


Holley M.,Addison Building | Rhodes C.,Addison Building | Kneebone A.,Addison Building | Herde M.K.,Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute | And 2 more authors.
Developmental Biology | Year: 2010

Emx2 is a homeodomain protein that plays a critical role in inner ear development. Homozygous null mice die at birth with a range of defects in the CNS, renal system and skeleton. The cochlea is shorter than normal with about 60% fewer auditory hair cells. It appears to lack outer hair cells and some supporting cells are either absent or fail to differentiate. Many of the hair cells differentiate in pairs and although their hair bundles develop normally their planar cell polarity is compromised. Measurements of cell polarity suggest that classic planar cell polarity molecules are not directly influenced by Emx2 and that polarity is compromised by developmental defects in the sensory precursor population or by defects in epithelial cues for cell alignment. Planar cell polarity is normal in the vestibular epithelia although polarity reversal across the striola is absent in both the utricular and saccular maculae. In contrast, cochlear hair cell polarity is disorganized. The expression domain for Bmp4 is expanded and Fgfr1 and Prox1 are expressed in fewer cells in the cochlear sensory epithelium of Emx2 null mice. We conclude that Emx2 regulates early developmental events that balance cell proliferation and differentiation in the sensory precursor population. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. Source

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