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Nat Commun. 2011 Nov 1;2:523. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1533.

Integrating the biophysical and molecular mechanisms of auditory hair cell mechanotransduction.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


Mechanosensation is a primitive and somewhat ubiquitous sense. At the inner ear, sensory hair cells are refined to enhance sensitivity, dynamic range and frequency selectivity. Thirty years ago, mechanisms of mechanotransduction and adaptation were well accounted for by simple mechanical models that incorporated physiological and morphological properties of hair cells. Molecular and genetic tools, coupled with new optical techniques, are now identifying and localizing specific components of the mechanotransduction machinery. These new findings challenge long-standing theories, and require modification of old and development of new models. Future advances require the integration of molecular and physiological data to causally test these new hypotheses.

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