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Anat Embryol (Berl). 1997 Aug;196(2):159-70.

Expression of myosin VIIA during mouse embryogenesis.

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Centre de Recherches Thèrapeutiques en Ophtalmologie, Laboratoire d'Embryologie Humaine, Faculté de Médecine Necker-Enfants Malades, Université René Descartes, Paris, France.


The gene encoding myosin VIIA is responsible for the mouse shaker-1 phenotype, which consists of deafness and balance deficiency related to cochlear and vestibular neuroepithelial defects. In humans, a defective myosin VIIA gene is responsible for Usher syndrome type IB, which associates congenital deafness, vestibular dysfunction and retinitis pigmentosa. In an attempt to progress in the understanding of the function(s) of myosin VIIA, we studied the expression of the myosin VIIA gene during mouse embryonic development. Embryos from day 9 (E9) to E18 were analyzed by in situ hybridization and immunohistofluorescence. The myosin VIIA mRNA and protein were consistently detected in the same embryonic tissues throughout development. Myosin VIIA was first observed in the otic vesicle at E9, and later in a variety of tissues. The olfactory epithelium and the liver express it as early as E10. In the retinal pigment epithelium, choroid plexus, adrenal gland and tongue, expression begins at E12 and in the testis and the adenohypophysis at E13. In the small intestine, kidney and hair follicles of the vibrissae, expression of myosin VIIA starts only at E15. Myosin VIIA expression was observed only in epithelial cell types, most of which possess microvilli or cilia. Interestingly, myosin VIIA expression seems to be concomitant with the appearance of these structures in the epithelial cells, suggesting a role for this myosin in their morphogenesis. The cellular location of myosin VIIA within sensory hair cells and olfactory receptor neurons also argues for a role of this protein in the synaptic vesicle trafficking.

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