We have identified a novel cochlear gene, designated OTOR, from a comparative sequence analysis of over 4000 clones from a human fetal cochlear cDNA library. Northern blot analysis of human and chicken organs shows strong OTOR expression only in the cochlea; very low levels are detected in the chicken eye and spinal cord. Otor and Col2A1 are coexpressed in the cartilaginous plates of the neural and abneural limbs of the chicken cochlea, structures analogous to the mammalian spiral limbus, osseous spiral lamina, and spiral ligament, and not in any other tissues in head and body sections. The human OTOR gene localizes to chromosome 20 in bands p11.23-p12.1 and more precisely to STS marker WI-16380. We have isolated cDNAs orthologous to human OTOR in the mouse, chicken, and bullfrog. The encoded protein, designated otoraplin, has a predicted secretion signal peptide sequence and shows a high degree of cross-species conservation. Otoraplin is homologous to the protein encoded by CDRAP/MIA (cartilage-derived retinoic acid sensitive protein/melanoma inhibitory activity), which is expressed predominantly by chondrocytes, functions in cartilage development and maintenance, and has growth-inhibitory activity in melanoma cell lines.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.