The MYC road to hearing restoration

Benjamin Kopecky, Bernd Fritzsch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Current treatments for hearing loss, the most common neurosensory disorder, do not restore perfect hearing. Regeneration of lost organ of Corti hair cells through forced cell cycle re-entry of supporting cells or through manipulation of stem cells, both avenues towards a permanent cure, require a more complete understanding of normal inner ear development, specifically the balance of proliferation and differentiation required to form and to maintain hair cells. Direct successful alterations to the cell cycle result in cell death whereas regulation of upstream genes is insufficient to permanently alter cell cycle dynamics. The Myc gene family is uniquely situated to synergize upstream pathways into downstream cell cycle control. There are three Mycs that are embedded within the Myc/Max/Mad network to regulate proliferation. The function of the two ear expressed Mycs, N-Myc and L-Myc were unknown less than two years ago and their therapeutic potentials remain speculative. In this review, we discuss the roles the Mycs play in the body and what led us to choose them to be our candidate gene for inner ear therapies. We will summarize the recently published work describing the early and late effects of N-Myc and L-Myc on hair cell formation and maintenance. Lastly, we detail the translational significance of our findings and what future work must be performed to make the ultimate hearing aid: the regeneration of the organ of Corti.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-698
Number of pages32
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 25 2012


  • Cell cycle
  • Cochlea
  • Development
  • L-Myc
  • N-Myc
  • Stem cell


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