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Epithelial dynamics shed light on mechanisms underlying ear canal defects

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Juan Fons Romero, Mona Mozaffari, Dean Malik, Abigail Marshall, Steve Connor, Nick Greene, Abigail Tucker

Original languageEnglish
Early online date22 Oct 2020
E-pub ahead of print22 Oct 2020


  • dev.194654.full

    dev.194654.full.pdf, 5.33 MB, application/pdf

    Uploaded date:23 Oct 2020

    Version:Accepted author manuscript

    Licence:CC BY

King's Authors


Defects in ear canal development can cause severe hearing loss as sound waves fail to reach the middle ear. Here we reveal new mechanisms that control human canal development and highlight for the first time the complex system of canal closure and reopening. These processes can be perturbed in mutant mice and in explant culture, mimicking the defects associated with canal aplasia. Collapse of the primary canal was linked to loss of periderm, with failure in periderm formation in Grhl3 mutant mice associated with premature closure of the canal. Conversely, inhibition of cell death in the periderm resulted in an arrest of closure. Once collapsed, re-opening of the canal occurred in a wave, triggered by terminal differentiation of the epithelium. Understanding these complex processes involved in canal development sheds light on the underlying causes of canal aplasia.

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