Specific expression of Gsta4 in mouse cochlear melanocytes: a novel role for hearing and melanocyte differentiation

Authors

  • Shigeyuki Uehara,

    1.  Department of Developmental Biology and Neurosciences, Graduate School of Life Sciences, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
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  • Yoshiko Izumi,

    1.  Department of Developmental Biology and Neurosciences, Graduate School of Life Sciences, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
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  • Yuko Kubo,

    1.  Department of Developmental Biology and Neurosciences, Graduate School of Life Sciences, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
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  • Chi Chiu Wang,

    1.  Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, New Territories, Hong Kong
    2.  Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Prince of Wales Hospital, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, New Territories, Hong Kong
    3.  Center for Information Biology and DNA Data Bank of Japan, National Institute of Genetics, Mishima, Japan
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  • Katsuhiko Mineta,

    1.  Department of Bioengineering and Bioinformatics, Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan
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  • Kazuho Ikeo,

    1.  Center for Information Biology and DNA Data Bank of Japan, National Institute of Genetics, Mishima, Japan
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  • Takashi Gojobori,

    1.  Center for Information Biology and DNA Data Bank of Japan, National Institute of Genetics, Mishima, Japan
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  • Masayoshi Tachibana,

    1.  Genome Science Branch, Center for Bioresource-based Researches, Brain Research Institute, Niigata University, Niigata, Japan
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    • Passed away during preparation of the manuscript.

  • Toshihiko Kikuchi,

    1.  Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Graduate School of Medicine, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
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  • Toshimitsu Kobayashi,

    1.  Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Graduate School of Medicine, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
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  • Shigeki Shibahara,

    1.  Department of Molecular Biology and Applied Physiology, Tohoku University School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan
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  • Choji Taya,

    1.  Department of Laboratory Animal Science, The Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, Tokyo, Japan
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  • Hiromichi Yonekawa,

    1.  Department of Laboratory Animal Science, The Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, Tokyo, Japan
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  • Toshihiko Shiroishi,

    1.  Mammalian Genetics Laboratory, National Institute of Genetics, Mishima, Japan
    2.  Mouse Functional Genomics Research Group, RIKEN GSC, Tsukuba, Japan
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  • Hiroaki Yamamoto

    1.  Department of Developmental Biology and Neurosciences, Graduate School of Life Sciences, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
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Hiroaki Yamamoto, e-mail: hyamamot@mail.tains.tohoku.ac.jp

Summary

Mammalian pigment cells produce melanin as the main pigment. Melanocytes, one of the two types of mammalian pigment cells, differentiate from the neural crest and migrate to a variety of organs during development. Melanocytes exist not only in the skin but also in other sites such as the cochlea where they are essential for hearing. Mitfmi-bw is one of the known recessive alleles of the mouse microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (Mitf) locus, which is essential for the development of pigment cells. Homozygous Mitfmi-bw/Mitfmi-bw mice have a completely white coat with black eyes and are deaf due to the lack of melanocytes. By comparing gene expression profiles in cochleae of wild-type and Mitfmi-bw/Mitfmi-bw mice, we now demonstrate the specific expression of glutathione S-transferase alpha 4 (Gsta4) in the stria vascularis. Gsta4 encodes one of the cytosolic glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) which participate in detoxification processes of many tissues. This gene is specifically expressed in intermediate cells of the stria vascularis, suggesting a novel function for cochlear melanocytes. Moreover, among mammalian pigment cells, expression of Gsta4 was restricted to cochlear melanocytes, suggesting that melanocytes in various tissues differentiate from one another depending on their location.

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