• otic vesicle;
  • vestibule;
  • cochlea;
  • deafness


Gata2 and Gata3 belong to the Gata family of transcription factors in vertebrates that bind to a consensus “GATA” DNA sequence. The Gata3 gene is one of the earliest markers for the developing mouse inner ear. Ear morphogenesis is blocked in Gata3-deficient embryos, whereas nothing was known of the role of Gata2 in mouse inner ear. Here, we have compared the expression patterns of Gata2 and Gata3 during normal inner ear development and investigated their relationship in mice where either Gata3 or Gata2 has been inactivated. The expression of the two Gata genes is highly overlapping at embryonic day (E)10.5 but becomes increasingly distinct later. Whereas Gata2 is predominantly expressed in the dorsal vestibular system, Gata3 was detected mainly in the ventral cochlear duct and ganglion. No phenotypic abnormalities were observed in the inner ear of Gata2−/− embryos before lethality at E10.5 and Gata3 expression was unchanged. In contrast, a delay and strong reduction of Gata2 expression was detected in Gata3−/− otic epithelium. Developmental Dynamics 231:775–781, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.