1. Developmental Biology
  2. Neuroscience
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Conserved and divergent development of brainstem vestibular and auditory nuclei

  1. Marcela Lipovsek  Is a corresponding author
  2. Richard JT Wingate
  1. King's College London, United Kingdom
Research Article
  • Cited 11
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Cite this article as: eLife 2018;7:e40232 doi: 10.7554/eLife.40232
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Vestibular function was established early in vertebrates and has remained, for the most part, unchanged. In contrast, each group of tetrapods underwent independent evolutionary processes to solve the problem of hearing on land, resulting in a remarkable mixture of conserved, divergent and convergent features that define extant auditory systems. The vestibuloacoustic nuclei of the hindbrain develop from a highly conserved ground plan and provide an ideal framework on which to address the participation of developmental processes to the evolution of neuronal circuits. We employed an electroporation strategy to unravel the contribution of two dorsoventral and four axial lineages to the development of the chick hindbrain vestibular and auditory nuclei. We compare the chick developmental map with recently stablished genetic fate-maps of the developing mouse hindbrain. Overall, we find considerable conservation of developmental origin for the vestibular nuclei. In contrast, a comparative analysis of the developmental origin of hindbrain auditory structures echoes the complex evolutionary history of the auditory system. In particular, we find that the developmental origin of the chick auditory interaural time difference circuit supports its emergence from an ancient vestibular network, unrelated to the analogous mammalian counterpart.

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Images included in figures 2-7 are representative of all the data generated and analysed during this study.

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Author details

  1. Marcela Lipovsek

    Centre for Developmental Neurobiology, King's College London, London, United Kingdom
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-9328-0328
  2. Richard JT Wingate

    Centre for Developmental Neurobiology, King's College London, London, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-1662-6097


Royal Society (NF120319)

  • Marcela Lipovsek

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Catherine Emily Carr, University of Maryland, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: July 19, 2018
  2. Accepted: December 18, 2018
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: December 19, 2018 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: January 3, 2019 (version 2)


© 2018, Lipovsek & Wingate

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.


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