Developmental Assembly of Transduction Apparatus in Chick Basilar Papilla

Fan Si, Hilary Brodie, Peter G. Gillespie, Ana E. Vazquez, Ebenezer N. Yamoah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Hair cells, the sensory receptors of auditory and vestibular systems, use a transducer apparatus that renders them remarkably sensitive to mechanical displacement as minute as 1 nm. To study the embryonic development of the transducer apparatus in hair cells of the chick auditory papilla, we examined hair cells that have been labeled with N-(3-triethylammoniumpropyl)-4-(4-(dibutylamino)styryl) pyridiniumdibromide, which has been shown to permeate the transducer channels. In addition, mechanotransduction currents were recorded directly using whole-cell patch-clamp techniques. The structure of the hair bundle was examined using scanning electron microscopy, and immunofluorescence labeling for myosin 1c, myosin 7a, and plasma membrane Ca2+ ATPase 2 was studied to determine the developmental expression of these proteins in embryonic chick papillas. We demonstrate that the transducer apparatus is assembled jointly at embryonic day 11 (E11) of the developing chick basilar papilla. The resting open probability of the transducer channels was high at E12 (∼0.5) and remained substantially elevated at E14-16; it then declined to the mature value of ∼0.15 at E21. The displacement sensitivity of the transduction apparatus, the gating force, increased from E12 to E21. Although the expression of different components of the transducer apparatus and the transduction current peaked at ∼E14-16, marked refinement occurred beyond E16. For example, myosin 1c appeared diffusely localized in hair bundles from E12 to E16, but subsequently consolidated into punctate pattern. The fine temporal and precise spatial assembly of the transducer apparatus likely contributes toward the exquisite sensitivity of the transduction ensemble.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10815-10826
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number34
StatePublished - Nov 26 2003


  • Hearing
  • Inner ear
  • Myosin
  • PMCA
  • Sensory receptors
  • Voltage clamp

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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