The Notch signalling pathway has recently been implicated in the development and patterning of the sensory epithelium in the cochlea, the organ of Corti. As part of an ongoing large-scale mutagenesis programme to identify new deaf or vestibular mouse mutants, we have identified a novel mouse mutant, slalom, which shows abnormalities in the patterning of hair cells in the organ of Corti and missing ampullae, structures that house the sensory epithelia of the semicircular canals. We show that the slalom mutant carries a mutation in the Jagged1 gene, implicating a new ligand in the signalling processes that pattern the inner ear neuro-epithelium.
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