Basic helix-loop-helix gene hes6 delineates the sensory hair cell lineage in the inner ear

Dong Qian, Kristen Radde-Gallwitz, Michael Kelly, Björn Tyrberg, Jaesang Kim, Wei Qiang Gao, Ping Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) gene Hes6 is known to promote neural differentiation in vitro. Here, we report the expression and functional studies of Hes6 in the inner ear. The expression of Hes6 appears to be parallel to that of Math1 (also known as Atoh1), a bHLH gene necessary and sufficient for hair cell differentiation. Hes6 is expressed initially in the presumptive hair cell precursors in the cochlea. Subsequently, the expression of Hes6 is restricted to morphologically differentiated hair cells. Similarly, the expression of Hes6 in the vestibule is in the hair cell lineage. Hes6 is dispensable for hair cell differentiation, and its expression in inner ear hair cells is abolished in the Math1-null animals. Furthermore, the introduction of Hes6 into the cochlea in vitro is not sufficient to promote sensory or neuronal differentiation. Therefore, Hes6 is downstream of Math1 and its expression in the inner ear delineates the sensory lineage. However, the role of Hes6 in the inner ear remains elusive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1689-1700
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental Dynamics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Cochlea
  • Hair cells
  • Hes1
  • Hes6
  • Math1
  • bHLH
  • organ of Corti


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