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Annu Rev Neurosci. 2007;30:339-65.

The micromachinery of mechanotransduction in hair cells.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA. mvollrath@hms.harvard.edu

Abstract

Mechanical stimuli generated by head movements and changes in sound pressure are detected by hair cells with amazing speed and sensitivity. The mechanosensitive organelle, the hair bundle, is a highly elaborated structure of actin-based stereocilia arranged in precise rows of increasing height. Extracellular linkages contribute to its cohesion and convey forces to mechanically gated channels. Channel opening is nearly instantaneous and is followed by a process of sensory adaptation that keeps the channels poised in their most sensitive range. This process is served by motors, scaffolds, and homeostatic mechanisms. The molecular constituents of this process are rapidly being elucidated, especially by the discovery of deafness genes and antibody targets.

PMID:
17428178
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2865174
Free PMC Article
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