Tip-link integrity and mechanical transduction in vertebrate hair cells

John A. Assad*, Gordon M G Shepherd, David P. Corey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

387 Scopus citations


An attractive hypothesis for hair-cell transduction is that fine, filamentous "tip links" pull directly on mechanically sensitive ion channels located at the tips of the stereocilia. We tested the involvement of tip links in the transduction process by treating bundles with a BAPTAbuffered, low-Ca2+ saline (10-9 M). BAPTA abolished the transduction current in a few hundred milliseconds. BAPTA treatment for a few seconds eliminated the tip links observed by either scanning or transmission electron microscopy. BAPTA also eliminated the voltagedependent movement and caused a positive bundle displacement of 133 nm, in quantitative agreement with a model for regulation of tension. We conclude that tip links convey tension to the transduction channels of hair cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)985-994
Number of pages10
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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