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A Membrane-Based Force Generation Mechanism in Auditory Sensory Cells

Federico Kalinec, Matthew C. Holley, Kuni H. Iwasa, David J. Lim and Bechara Kachar
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 89, No. 18 (Sep. 15, 1992), pp. 8671-8675
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2360247
Page Count: 5
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
A Membrane-Based Force Generation Mechanism in Auditory Sensory Cells
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Abstract

Auditory outer hair cells can elongate and shorten at acoustic frequencies in response to changes of plasma membrane potential. We show that this fast bidirectional contractile activity consists of an electromechanical transduction process that occurs at the lateral plasma membrane and can be activated and analyzed independently in small membrane patches inside a patch electrode. Bidirectional forces are generated by increases and decreases in membrane area in response to hyperpolarization and depolarization, respectively. We suggest that the force generation mechanism is driven by voltage-dependent conformational changes within a dense array of large transmembrane proteins associated with the site of electromechanical transduction.

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