© 2017 Iki et al.This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Various tissues possess tissue-specific stem/progenitor cells, including the inner ears. Stem/progenitor cells of the inner ear can be isolated as so-called otospheres from differentiated cells using a sphere forming assay. Although recent studies have demonstrated the characteristics of otospheres to some extent, most of the features of these cells are unknown. In this report, we describe the findings of transcriptome analyses with a cDNA microarray of otospheres derived from the cochleae of the inner ears of neonatal mice in order to clarify the gene expression profile of otic stem/progenitor cells. There were common transcription factors between otospheres and embryonic stem cells, which were supposed to be due to the stemness of otospheres. In comparison with the cochlear sensory epithelium, the otospheres shared characteristics with the cochlea, although several transcription factors specific for otospheres were identified. These transcription factors are expected to be essential for maintaining the characteristics of otospheres, and appear to be candidate genes that promote the direct conversion of cells into otic stem/progenitor cells.
Iki, T., Tanaka, M., Kitajiri, S. I., Kita, T., Kawasaki, Y., Mizukoshi, A., … Saito, M. K. (2017). Microarray analyses of otospheres derived from the cochlea in the inner ear identify putative transcription factors that regulate the characteristics of otospheres. PLoS ONE, 12(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0179901