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J Physiol. 1986 Jun; 375: 195–227.
PMCID: PMC1182755

The transduction channel of hair cells from the bull-frog characterized by noise analysis.


Receptor currents in response to mechanical stimuli were recorded from hair cells in the excised epithelium of the bull-frog sacculus by the whole-cell, gigohm-seal voltage-clamp technique. The stimulus-dependent transduction current was separated from the cell's stimulus-independent K+ and Ca2+ currents; the K+ currents were blocked with an internal solution containing Cs+ while the Ca2+ current was reduced by holding the membrane potential below -70 mV. The temperature of the preparation was maintained at about 10 degrees C to slow the kinetics of the cells' transduction channels. Calibrated displacements of hair bundles of individual hair cells were made with a probe coupled by suction to the kinociliary bulb and moved with a piezoelectricbimorph stimulator. The root mean square noise of probe motion was less than 2 nm. The mean, I, and the variance, sigma 2, of the receptor current were measured from the response to saturating (+/- 0.5 micron) displacements of the hair bundle. I was corrected for current offsets and sigma 2 for the transduction-independent background variance. The relation between sigma 2 and I is consistent with the predictions of a two-conductance-state model of the transduction channel, a model having only one non-zero conductance state. The relation between sigma 2 and I was fitted by the equation sigma 2 = Ii-I2/N, where N is the number of transduction channels in the cell and i is the current through a single open channel. The conductance of the transduction channel is approximately ohmic with a reversal potential near 0 mV. The estimated conductance of a single transduction channel, gamma, is 12.7 +/- 2.7 pS (mean +/- S.D.; n = 18) at 10 degrees C. gamma is independent of the maximum transduction conductance of the cell, Gmax. The number of transduction channels, N, is proportional to Gmax. N ranges from 7 to 280 in cells with Gmax ranging from 0.08 to 2.48 nS. The largest values of N correspond to a few, perhaps four, active transduction channels per stereocilium. Control experiments show that transduction by the hair cell of two artifactual sources of hair-bundle stimulation, noisy or discontinuous motion of the probe, do not contribute substantially to the measured variance, sigma 2. Displacement-response curves are generally sigmoidal and symmetrical; they reasonably fit the predictions of a two-kinetic-state model, comprising one open state and one closed state. The estimated displacement-sensitive free energy, Z, is 5.7 +/- 1.1 kcal/mol micron (mean +/- S.D., n = 18).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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Selected References

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