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Keywords:

  • Oc90;
  • Sc1;
  • Sparc;
  • otoconia;
  • biomineralization/calcification;
  • protein homology modeling

Abstract

Otoconia, developed during late gestation and perinatal stages, couple mechanic force to the sensory hair cells in the vestibule for motion detection and bodily balance. In the present work, we have investigated whether compensatory deposition of another protein(s) may have taken place to partially alleviate the detrimental effects of Oc90 deletion by analyzing a comprehensive list of plausible candidates, and have found a drastic increase in the deposition of Sparc-like 1 (aka Sc1 or hevin) in Oc90 null versus wt otoconia. We show that such up-regulation is specific to Sc1, and that stable transfection of Oc90 and Sc1 full-length expression constructs in NIH/3T3 cells indeed promotes matrix calcification. Analysis and modeling of Oc90 and Sc1 protein structures show common features that may be critical requirements for the otoconial matrix backbone protein. Such information will serve as the foundation for future regenerative purposes. Developmental Dynamics 239:2659–2673, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.