Effect of hair cell orientation on mechanotransduction response in the vestibular system


Kayla Bright

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2023



JAX Location

In: Student Reports, Summer 2023, The Jackson Laboratory


In the inner ear, the vestibular system detects movement, gravity, and acceleration thanks to specialized cells called hair cells. Hair cells have actin protrusions at their apical surface called stereocilia forming hair bundles. Ions channels localized at the tip of stereocilia open when bundles are deflected in response to movement, transmitting information to the brain – this process is called mechanotransduction. One of the vestibular organs, the utricle, has two populations of hair cells with opposing orientation that allows mechanotransduction channels to open from bi-directional deflection. Here, using the fluorescent dye FM1-43, we tested the mechanotransduction response to observe differences between the two hair cell populations in the utricle. We showed that there is a quantifiable difference in MET response between those two domains, suggesting a role of cell orientation on mechanotransduction abilities.

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