Abstract and Keywords
This article focuses on the structure, function, and composition of the transduction apparatus of mammalian cochlear hair cells. Hair cells are the sensory receptors of the vertebrate acousticolateralis system. There are two types of hair cell, a single row of inner hair cells (IHCs), and three rows of outer hair cells (OHCs). Hair cell mechanotransduction must result from the fastest known ion channel kinetics. The range of frequencies that can be detected is based on a number of structural modifications along the length of the cochlea including the size and shape of the stereociliary bundles as well as functional variation of the mechanoelectric transducer channels themselves. More recent research in human genetics and molecular biology has begun to identify cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying hair cell mechanotransduction.
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