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Can you hear me now? How the inner ear's sensors are made
Date:12/1/2008

gene that controls dynein a tiny molecular motor that drives cilia movement," said Hill. "When we examined the embryos, we saw that cilia movement came to a halt. As a result, the particles did not assemble in the correct site. So not only did ear crystals form in the wrong place, but they were misshapen and abnormally sized."

"While it's been suggested that cilia movement contributes to the formation of ear crystals, this idea had never been tested before," he said. "Our findings show that cilia in the ear do move and demonstrate that cilia movement is needed for ear crystals to assemble in the right place."

According to Hill, the findings offer promise for the treatment of patients with hearing disorders and people with ciliopathies, disorders marked by poor cilia function. These conditions include sperm-related infertility, polycystic kidney disease, lung and respiratory disorders, swelling of the brain, and reversal of the internal organs' sites from one side of the body to the other.

"The idea that physical movement can influence vertebrate development is very provocative," Hill said. "Scientists typically look at whether a particular gene is switched on or off, or if a particular protein is activated that determines if a tissue develops normally. In this case, microscopic currents in the fluid surrounding developing tissue are affecting its development. We need to understand more details of this process and determine how common it is during development."


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Contact: Elaine Schmidt
eschmidt@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2272
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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