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Dev Cell. 2007 Sep;13(3):325-37.

Estrogen-related receptor beta/NR3B2 controls epithelial cell fate and endolymph production by the stria vascularis.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


In the mammalian inner ear, endolymph is produced and resorbed by a complex series of epithelia. We show here that estrogen-related receptor beta (ERR-beta; NR3B2), an orphan nuclear receptor, is specifically expressed in and controls the development of the endolymph-producing cells of the inner ear: the strial marginal cells in the cochlea and the vestibular dark cells in the ampulla and utricle. Nr3b2(-/-) strial marginal cells fail to express multiple ion channel and transporter genes, and they show a partial transformation toward the fate of the immediately adjacent Pendrin-expressing epithelial cells. In genetically mosaic mice, Nr3b2(-/-) strial marginal cells produce secondary alterations in gene expression in the underlying intermediate cells and a local loss of strial capillaries. A systematic comparison of transcripts in the WT versus Nr3b2(-/-) stria vascularis has identified a set of genes that is likely to play a role in the development and/or function of endolymph-producing epithelia.

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