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Calcium entry into stereocilia drives adaptation of the mechanoelectrical transducer current of mammalian cochlear hair cells

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posted on 2023-06-08, 20:13 authored by Laura F Corns, Stuart L Johnson, Corne Kros, Walter Marcotti
Mechanotransduction in the auditory and vestibular systems depends on mechanosensitive ion channels in the stereociliary bundles that project from the apical surface of the sensory hair cells. In lower vertebrates, when the mechanoelectrical transducer (MET) channels are opened by movement of the bundle in the excitatory direction, Ca2+ entry through the open MET channels causes adaptation, rapidly reducing their open probability and resetting their operating range. It remains uncertain whether such Ca2+-dependent adaptation is also present in mammalian hair cells. Hair bundles of both outer and inner hair cells from mice were deflected by using sinewave or step mechanical stimuli applied using a piezo-driven fluid jet. We found that when cochlear hair cells were depolarized near the Ca2+ reversal potential or their hair bundles were exposed to the in vivo endolymphatic Ca2+ concentration (40 µM), all manifestations of adaptation, including the rapid decline of the MET current and the reduction of the available resting MET current, were abolished. MET channel adaptation was also reduced or removed when the intracellular Ca2+ buffer 1,2-Bis(2-aminophenoxy)ethane-N,N,N',N'-tetraacetic acid (BAPTA) was increased from a concentration of 0.1 to 10 mM. The findings show that MET current adaptation in mouse auditory hair cells is modulated similarly by extracellular Ca2+, intracellular Ca2+ buffering, and membrane potential, by their common effect on intracellular free Ca2+. Hearing and balance depend on the transduction of mechanical stimuli into electrical signals. This process depends on the opening of mechanoelectrical transducer (MET) channels located at the tips of the shorter of pairs of adjacent stereocilia (1), which are specialized microvilli-like structures that form the hair bundles that project from the upper surface of hair cells (2,3). Deflection of hair bundles in the excitatory direction (i.e., toward the taller stereocilia) stretches specialized linkages, the tip-links, present between adjacent stereocilia (3?–5), opening the MET channels. In hair cells from lower vertebrates, open MET channels reclose during constant stimuli via an initial fast adaptation mechanism followed by a much slower, myosin-based motor process, both of which are driven by Ca2+ entry through the channel itself (6??????–13). In mammalian auditory hair cells, MET current adaptation seems to be mainly driven by the fast mechanism (14?–16), although the exact process by which it occurs is still largely unknown. The submillisecond speed associated with the adaptation kinetics of the MET channels in rat and mouse cochlear hair cells (17, 18) indicates that Ca2+, to cause adaptation, has to interact directly with a binding site on the channel or via an accessory protein (16). However, a recent investigation on rat auditory hair cells has challenged the view that Ca2+ entry is required for fast adaptation, and instead proposed an as-yet-undefined mechanism involving a Ca2+-independent reduction in the viscoelastic force of elements in series with the MET channels (19). In the present study, we further investigated the role of Ca2+ in MET channel adaptation in mouse cochlear hair cells by deflecting their hair bundles using a piezo-driven fluid jet, which is believed to produce a more uniform deflection of the hair bundles (20??–23) compared with the piezo-driven glass rod (19, 24).


Mechanisms of aminoglyscoside ototoxicity and drug damage repair in sensory hair cells: towards the design of otoprotective strategies.; G1025; MRC-MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL; MR/K005561/1


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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences




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