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Trends Neurosci. 1992 Jul;15(7):254-9.

Mechanoelectrical transduction by hair cells.

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  • 1Dept of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Queensland, Australia.


Hair cells of the inner ear are one of nature's great success stories, appearing early in vertebrate evolution and having a similar form in all vertebrate classes. They are specialized columnar epithelial cells, with an array of modified microvilli or stereocilia on their apical surface, interconnected by a series of linkages. The mechanical stimulus causes deflection of the stereocilia, stretching linkages between them, and opening the mechanotransducer channels. On a slower timescale, hair cells adapt in order to maintain optimum sensitivity, with an adaptation motor within the stereocilia acting to keep the resting tension on channels constant.

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