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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2003 Aug;13(4):446-51.

Adaptation in auditory hair cells.

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Department of Physiology, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


The narrow stimulus limits of hair cell transduction, equivalent to a total excursion of about 100nm at the tip of the hair bundle, demand tight regulation of the mechanical input to ensure that the mechanoelectrical transducer (MET) channels operate in their linear range. This control is provided by multiple components of Ca(2+)-dependent adaptation. A slow mechanism limits the mechanical stimulus through the action of one or more unconventional myosins. There is also a fast, sub-millisecond, Ca(2+) regulation of the MET channel, which can generate resonance and confer tuning on transduction. Changing the conductance or kinetics of the MET channels can vary their resonant frequency. The tuning information conveyed in transduction may combine with the somatic motility of outer hair cells to produce an active process that supplies amplification and augments frequency selectivity in the mammalian cochlea.

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