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Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science



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Loss of postnatal mammalian auditory hair cells (HCs) is irreversible. Earlier studies have highlighted the importance of the Retinoblastoma family of proteins (pRBs) (i.e., Rb1, Rbl1/p107, and Rbl2/p130) in the auditory cells’ proliferation and emphasized our lack of information on their specific roles in the auditory system. We have previously demonstrated that lack of Rbl2/p130 moderately affects HCs’ and supporting cells’ (SCs) proliferation. Here, we present evidence supporting multiple roles for Rbl1/p107 in the developing and mature mouse organ of Corti (OC). Like other pRBs, Rbl1/p107 is expressed in the OC, particularly in the Hensen’s and Deiters’ cells. Moreover, Rbl1/p107 impacts maturation and postmitotic quiescence of HCs and SCs, as evidenced by enhanced numbers of these cells and the presence of dividing cells in the postnatal Rbl1/p107−/− OC. These findings were further supported by microarray and bioinformatics analyses, suggesting downregulation of several bHLH molecules, as well as activation of the Notch/Hes/Hey signaling pathway in homozygous Rbl1/p107 mutant mice. Physiological assessments and detection of ectopic HC marker expression in postnatal spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs) provided evidence for incomplete cell maturation and differentiation in Rbl1/p107−/− OC. Collectively, the present study highlights an important role for Rbl1/p107 in OC cell differentiation and maturation, which is distinct from other pRBs.


Copyright © 2013 Sonia M. Rocha-Sanchez et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.