Mowbray, C., Hammerschmidt, M., and Whitfield, T.T. (2001) Expression of BMP signalling pathway members in the developing zebrafish inner ear and lateral line. Mechanisms of Development. 108(1-2):179-184.
In this paper we describe the mRNA expression patterns of members of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signalling pathway in the developing zebrafish ear. bmp2b, 4, and 7 are expressed in discrete areas of otic epithelium, some of which correspond to sensory patches. bmp2b and 4 mark the developing cristae before and during the appearance of differentiated hair cells. bmp4 is also expressed in a dorsal, non-sensory region of the ear. Expression of bmps in cristae is conserved between zebrafish, chick, and mouse, but there are also notable differences in ear expression patterns between these species. Of five zebrafish BMP antagonists, only one (follistatin) shows significant expression in the otic epithelium. The type I receptor bmpr-IB shows localised expression in the ear epithelium. Mediators of BMP signalling, smad1 and smad5, are expressed in statoacoustic and lateral line ganglia; smad5 is also expressed at low levels throughout the ear epithelium. An inhibitory smad, smad6, is expressed laterally in the ear epithelium. Lateral line primordia and neuromasts also express bmp2b, 4, follistatin, smad1, and smad5. The conservation of bmp expression in cristae among different species adds weight to the growing evidence that BMPs are required for the development of the vertebrate ear.