ADAM10 and γ-secretase regulate sensory regeneration in the avian vestibular organs

Mark E. Warchol, Jennifer Stone, Matthew Barton, Jeffrey Ku, Rose Veile, Nicolas Daudet, Michael Lovett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The loss of sensory hair cells from the inner ear is a leading cause of hearing and balance disorders. The mammalian ear has a very limited ability to replace lost hair cells, but the inner ears of non-mammalian vertebrates can spontaneously regenerate hair cells after injury. Prior studies have shown that replacement hair cells are derived from epithelial supporting cells and that the differentiation of new hair cells is regulated by the Notch signaling pathway. The present study examined molecular influences on regeneration in the avian utricle, which has a particularly robust regenerative ability. Chicken utricles were placed in organotypic culture and hair cells were lesioned by application of the ototoxic antibiotic streptomycin. Cultures were then allowed to regenerate in vitro for seven days. Some specimens were treated with small molecule inhibitors of γ-secretase or ADAM10, proteases which are essential for transmission of Notch signaling. As expected, treatment with both inhibitors led to increased numbers of replacement hair cells. However, we also found that inhibition of both proteases resulted in increased regenerative proliferation. Subsequent experiments showed that inhibition of γ-secretase or ADAM10 could also trigger proliferation in undamaged utricles. To better understand these phenomena, we used RNA-Seq profiling to characterize changes in gene expression following γ-secretase inhibition. We observed expression patterns that were consistent with Notch pathway inhibition, but we also found that the utricular sensory epithelium contains numerous γ-secretase substrates that might regulate cell cycle entry and possibly supporting cell-to-hair cell conversion. Together, our data suggest multiple roles for γ-secretase and ADAM10 in vestibular hair cell regeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-51
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017


  • Auditory
  • Development
  • Hair Cell
  • Inner Ear
  • Notch
  • Regeneration
  • Utricle
  • Vestibular


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