Dll3 is expressed in developing hair cells in the mammalian cochlea



Notch mediates the process of lateral inhibition that controls the production of hair cells in the inner ear. Hair cells are known to express Notch ligands Dll1 and Jag2, which signal through Notch1 in adjacent supporting cells. However, recent genetic and pharmacological studies indicate that the level of Notch-mediated lateral inhibition is greater than can be accounted for by Dll1 and Jag2. Here, we report that another Notch ligand, Dll3, is expressed in developing hair cells, in a pattern that overlaps that of Dll1 and Jag2. We analyzed the cochleae of Dll3pu mutant mice, but did not detect any abnormalities. However, earlier studies have demonstrated that there is functional redundancy among Notch ligands in cochlear development and loss of one ligand can be at least partially compensated for by another. Thus Dll3 may play a role in lateral inhibition similar to that of Dll1 and Jag2. Developmental Dynamics 236:2875–2883, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.