The role of Frizzled3 and Frizzled6 in neural tube closure and in the planar polarity of inner-ear sensory hair cells

J Neurosci. 2006 Feb 22;26(8):2147-56. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4698-05.2005.


In the mouse, Frizzled3 (Fz3) and Frizzled6 (Fz6) have been shown previously to control axonal growth and guidance in the CNS and hair patterning in the skin, respectively. Here, we report that Fz3 and Fz6 redundantly control neural tube closure and the planar orientation of hair bundles on a subset of auditory and vestibular sensory cells. In the inner ear, Fz3 and Fz6 proteins are localized to the lateral faces of sensory and supporting cells in all sensory epithelia in a pattern that correlates with the axis of planar polarity. Interestingly, the polarity of Fz6 localization with respect to the asymmetric position of the kinocilium is reversed between vestibular hair cells in the cristae of the semicircular canals and auditory hair cells in the organ of Corti. Vangl2, one of two mammalian homologs of the Drosophila planar cell polarity (PCP) gene van Gogh/Strabismus, is also required for correct hair bundle orientation on a subset of auditory sensory cells and on all vestibular sensory cells. In the inner ear of a Vangl2 mutant (Looptail; Lp), Fz3 and Fz6 proteins accumulate to normal levels but do not localize correctly at the cell surface. These results support the view that vertebrates and invertebrates use similar molecular mechanisms to control a wide variety of PCP-dependent developmental processes. This study also establishes the vestibular sensory epithelium as a tractable tissue for analyzing PCP, and it introduces the use of genetic mosaics for determining the absolute orientation of PCP proteins in mammals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning / physiology
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / embryology*
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cell Polarity
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Frizzled Receptors
  • Hair Cells, Auditory, Inner / cytology*
  • Hair Cells, Auditory, Inner / embryology
  • Hair Cells, Auditory, Inner / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / deficiency
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Frizzled Receptors
  • Fzd3 protein, mouse
  • Fzd6 protein, mouse
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled