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Science 333 (6046): 1144-1147

Copyright © 2011 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Nectins Establish a Checkerboard-Like Cellular Pattern in the Auditory Epithelium

Hideru Togashi,1,* Kanoko Kominami,1,* Masazumi Waseda,1,{dagger} Hitomi Komura,1,{ddagger} Jun Miyoshi,2 Masatoshi Takeichi,3 Yoshimi Takai1,§

Abstract: In the auditory epithelium of the cochlea, the sensory hair cells and supporting cells are arranged in a checkerboard-like fashion, but the mechanism underlying this cellular patterning is unclear. We found that mouse hair cells and supporting cells express the immunoglobulin-like adhesion molecules nectin-1 and -3, respectively, and that their interaction mediates the heterotypic adhesion between these two cell types. Genetic removal of nectin-1 or -3 disrupted the checkerboard-like pattern, inducing aberrant attachment between hair cells. When cells expressing either nectin-1 or -3 were cocultured, they arranged themselves into a mosaic pattern. Thus, nectin-1 and -3 promote the formation of the checkerboard-like pattern of the auditory epithelia.

1 Division of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Kobe 650-0017, Japan.
2 Department of Molecular Biology, Osaka Medical Center for Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease, Osaka 537-8511, Japan.
3 Laboratory for Cell Adhesion and Tissue Patterning, RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology, Kobe 650-0047, Japan.

* These authors contributed equally to this work.

{dagger} Present address: Division of Genetics and Department of Cancer Biology, the Institute of Medical Science, the University of Tokyo, Tokyo 108-8639, Japan.

{ddagger} Present address: Department of Pathology and Tumor Biology, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan.

§ To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: ytakai{at}

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