The Function of Sox2 and Sox3 in Early Otic Development and Patterning
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Sox genes encode transcription factors that function as part of a complex gene regulatory network governing development of the otic placode, the precursor of the inner ear. Sox genes have been implicated in maintaining pluripotency and in promoting differentiation depending on expression level or availability of other co-expressed transcription factors. Further, these genes may function in establishing sensory neural patterning within the ear. This study aims to examine which of these roles sox2 and sox3 perform within the developing inner ear. We will use mutant knockout lines to observe what happens when the genes are not functioning and heat shock activated transgenes to observe the effects of too much gene function. This will give a greater understanding of how these genes fit within the regulatory network governing otic placode formation, how they are used to balance pluripotency and differentiation during development, and which functions they perform in the process of sensory neural patterning. Elucidating these functions could lead to better understanding of causes of human deafness and inform efforts to develop effective treatments.
Maulding, Kirstin (2016). The Function of Sox2 and Sox3 in Early Otic Development and Patterning. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from