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Methods Cell Biol. 2016;133:253-79. doi: 10.1016/bs.mcb.2016.02.004. Epub 2016 Mar 4.

Physiological recordings from the zebrafish lateral line.

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University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom.
Amherst College, Amherst, MA, United States.


During sensory transduction, external physical stimuli are translated into an internal biological signal. In vertebrates, hair cells are specialized mechanosensory receptors that transduce sound, gravitational forces, and head movements into electrical signals that are transmitted with remarkable precision and efficiency to afferent neurons. Hair cells have a conserved structure between species and are also found in the lateral line system of fish, including zebrafish, which serve as an ideal animal model to study sensory transmission in vivo. In this chapter, we describe the methods required to investigate the biophysical properties underlying mechanosensation in the lateral line of the zebrafish in vivo from microphonic potentials and single hair cell patch-clamp recordings to single afferent neuron recordings. These techniques provide real-time measurements of hair-cell transduction and transmission following delivery of controlled and defined stimuli and their combined use on the intact zebrafish provides a powerful platform to investigate sensory encoding in vivo.


Auditory; Hair cells; In vivo; Lateral line; Optogenetics; Patch-clamp; Sensory encoding; Zebrafish

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