MAP3K1 function is essential for cytoarchitecture of the mouse organ of Corti and survival of auditory hair cells.

Disease models & mechanisms

PubMedID: 26496772

Yousaf R, Meng Q, Hufnagel RB, Xia Y, Puligilla C, Ahmed ZM, Riazuddin S. MAP3K1 function is essential for cytoarchitecture of the mouse organ of Corti and survival of auditory hair cells. Dis Model Mech. 2015;.
MAP3K1 is a serine/threonine kinase that is activated by a diverse set of stimuli and exerts its effect through various downstream effecter molecules, including JNK, ERK1/2 and p38. In humans, mutant alleles of MAP3K1 are associated with 46,XY sex reversal. Until recently, the only phenotype observed in Map3k1(tm1Yxia) mutant mice was open eyelids at birth. Here, we report that homozygous Map3k1(tm1Yxia) mice have early-onset profound hearing loss accompanied by the progressive degeneration of cochlear outer hair cells. In the mouse inner ear, MAP3K1 has punctate localization at the apical surface of the supporting cells in close proximity to basal bodies. Although the cytoarchitecture, neuronal wiring and synaptic junctions in the organ of Corti are grossly preserved, Map3k1(tm1Yxia) mutant mice have supernumerary functional outer hair cells (OHCs) and Deiters' cells. Loss of MAP3K1 function resulted in the downregulation of Fgfr3, Fgf8, Fgf10 and Atf3 expression in the inner ear. Fgfr3, Fgf8 and Fgf10 have a role in induction of the otic placode or in otic epithelium development in mice, and their functional deficits cause defects in cochlear morphogenesis and hearing loss. Our studies suggest that MAP3K1 has an essential role in the regulation of these key cochlear morphogenesis genes. Collectively, our data highlight the crucial role of MAP3K1 in the development and function of the mouse inner ear and hearing.