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Development of location-specific hair cell stereocilia in denervated embryonic ears

, : Development of location-specific hair cell stereocilia in denervated embryonic ears. Journal of Comparative Neurology 288(4): 529-537

The developmental mechanisms that allow physiological coding of acoustic pitch have remained unexplained. Cochlear hair cells that have different structures respond to different sound frequencies and synapse with neurons that project to different locations in the brain. How do these hair cells develop appropriate structures, and how are the connections between specific hair cells and the neurons that code for their pitch sensitivities matched? We have investigated one aspect of this by denervating embryonic chicken ears, before the time of hair cell production, and then transplanting them to the aneural chorioallantoic membrane of host embryos where they have continued to develop. We report that vestibular and auditory hair cell phenotypes differentiate appropriately and that correct gradients of hair cell structural phenotypes, as expressed in stereocilia bundles, develop in the cochleae of these denervated ears. Therefore, the normal development of gradients in hair cell stereocilia properties must be controlled by location-specific cues originating in the ear itself. Neuronally directed modification of target cell phenotypes is not required for the quite specific phenotype development represented by the stereocilia bundles of individual hair cells and the connectional matching in the numerous distinct peripheral information lines of the auditory system.


PMID: 2808748

DOI: 10.1002/cne.902880402

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