Tubulin and microtubules in cochlear hair cells: Comparative immunocytochemistry and ultrastructure

P. S. Steyger, D. N. Furness, C. M. Hackney, G. P. Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


The distribution of tubulin has been investigated in surface preparations of the guinea pig organ of Corti using indirect immunofluorescence microscopy. Two different monoclonal antibodies to tubulin produce similar distinct patterns of labelling in hair cells. Labelling is greater in inner hair cells than outer hair cells. It occurs in rings around the cell apex, and in a meshwork below and channels through, the cuticular plate. In outer hair cells from the apical region of the cochlea, labelling occurs around the location of a basalward protrusion of the cuticular plate. These patterns correlate with the location of microtubules observed using transmission electron microscopy. A large patch of labelling occurs on the strial side of the cell corresponding to the largest channel through the cuticular plate and the kinociliary basal body. Strands of labelling are seen running parallel to the long axis of the cell between the subcuticular and synaptic region. Many more of these strands are seen in the inner hair cell than the outer hair cell and may correspond to tracks of microtubules transporting neurotransmitter vesicles or other organelles. In outer hair cells, intense labelling and many microtubules are seen in the subnuclear region. The possible roles of the different microtubule arrangements are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalHearing Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Cochlea
  • Hair cell
  • Immunofluorescence
  • Microtubules
  • Tubulin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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