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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2009 Aug;19(4):368-73. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2009.06.004. Epub 2009 Jul 13.

Building the world's best hearing aid; regulation of cell fate in the cochlea.

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  • 1Section on Developmental Neuroscience, National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA. PuligillaC@nidcd.nih.gov


In mammals, auditory perception is initially mediated through sensory cells located in a rigorously patterned mosaic of unique cell types located within the coiled cochlea. Identification of the factors that direct multipotent progenitor cells to develop as each of these specialized cell types has the potential to enhance our understanding of the development of the auditory system and to identify potential targets for regenerative therapies. Recent results have identified specific signaling molecules and pathways, including Notch, Hedgehog, Sox2 and Fgfs, that guide progenitor cells to develop first as a sensory precursor, referred to as a prosensory cell, and subsequently as one of the specialized cell types within the sensory mosaic.

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