[en] Transcription factors of the SoxE family are critical players that underlie various embryological processes. However, little is known about their function during inner ear development. Here, we show that Sox10 is initially expressed throughout the otic vesicle epithelium and becomes later restricted to supporting cells as cell differentiation proceeds in the organ of Corti. Morphological analyses of Sox10 mutant mice reveal a significant shortening of the cochlear duct likely resulting from the progressive depletion of cochlear progenitors. While Sox10 appears dispensable for the differentiation and patterning of the inner ear prosensory progenitors, our data support a critical role for this transcription factor in the promotion of their survival. We provide genetic evidences that Sox10, in a concentration-dependant manner, could play a role in the regulation of Jagged1, a gene known to be important for inner ear prosensory development. Together, our results demonstrate that Sox10 regulates the biology of early cochlear progenitors during inner ear development, but, in contrast to neural crest-derived cells, this transcription factor is dispensable for their differentiation. Evidence also suggests that this effect occurs via the activation of the Jagged1 gene.
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS ; Fonds Léon Fredericq