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Trends Neurosci. 2012 Apr;35(4):220-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2011.10.007. Epub 2011 Dec 15.

Sensing sound: molecules that orchestrate mechanotransduction by hair cells.

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1
Dorris Neuroscience Center, Department of Cell Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.

Abstract

Animals use acoustic signals to communicate and to obtain information about their environment. The processing of acoustic signals is initiated at auditory sense organs, where mechanosensory hair cells convert sound-induced vibrations into electrical signals. Although the biophysical principles underlying the mechanotransduction process in hair cells have been characterized in much detail over the past 30 years, the molecular building-blocks of the mechanotransduction machinery have proved to be difficult to determine. We review here recent studies that have both identified some of these molecules and established the mechanisms by which they regulate the activity of the still-elusive mechanotransduction channel.

PMID:
22177415
PMCID:
PMC3310959
DOI:
10.1016/j.tins.2011.10.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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