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Hear Res. 1997 Feb;104(1-2):47-56.

Localization of organ of Corti protein II in the adult and developing gerbil cochlea.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston 29425-2242, USA.


The distribution of organ of Corti protein II (OCP-II) was assessed in the developing and mature gerbil cochlea by light and electron microscopic immunohistochemistry. In the adult cochlea, OCP-II was expressed only in certain epithelial cells which included all supporting cells of the organ of Corti, inner and outer sulcus cells and interdental cells. Inner and outer hair cells lacked immunoreactivity. The highest gold particle labeling density was seen overlying intracellular regions devoid of organelles. In the developing inner ear, OCP-II was first detected at 2 days after birth (DAB) with the strongest staining in immature Deiters, inner phalangeal and pillar cells. Immunostaining intensity increased gradually in cells lying laterally and medially to the more centrally located supporting cells and reached adult levels in all reactive cell types around 18 DAB. The results demonstrated conclusively that OCP-II is a cytosolic protein and fail to support its role as a transcription factor postulated on the basis of its homology with p15 or a role in the control of the cycle as suggested by its near-identity with p19Skp1, a cyclin A/CDK2-associated protein. The continued high level of expression in the mature cochlea argues against OCP-II's involvement in regulating the development and differentiation of epithelial cells. The protein's unique distribution and its gradual increase in expression prior to and during the onset and maturation of hearing, however, support its potential function in the recycling of K+ effluxed from hair cells and neurons back to endolymph.

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