Sox8 remodels the cranial ectoderm to generate the ear

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The vertebrate inner ear arises from a pool of progenitors with the potential to contribute to all the sense organs and cranial ganglia in the head. Here, we explore the molecular mechanisms that control ear specification from these precursors. Using a multiomics approach combined with loss-of-function experiments, we identify a core transcriptional circuit that imparts ear identity, along with a genome-wide characterization of noncoding elements that integrate this information. This analysis places the transcription factor Sox8 at the top of the ear determination network. Introducing Sox8 into the cranial ectoderm not only converts non-ear cells into ear progenitors but also activates the cellular programs for ear morphogenesis and neurogenesis. Thus, Sox8 has the unique ability to remodel transcriptional networks in the cranial ectoderm toward ear identity.

Journal details

Volume 119
Issue number 28
Pages e2118938119
Available online
Publication date