The cellular basis of hearing: the biophysics of hair cells

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Science  15 Nov 1985:
Vol. 230, Issue 4727, pp. 745-752
DOI: 10.1126/science.2414845


A crucial event in the hearing process is the transduction of mechanical stimuli into electrical signals by hair cells, the sensory receptors of the internal ear. Stimulation results in the rapid opening of ionic channels in the mechanically sensitive organelles of these cells, their hair bundles. These transduction channels, which are nonselectively permeable, are directly excited by hair-bundle displacement. Hair cells are selectively responsive to particular frequencies of stimulation, both due to the mechanical properties of their hair bundles and because of an ensemble of ionic channels that constitute an electrical resonator.

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