Mechanotransduction by hair cells: models, molecules, and mechanisms

Cell. 2009 Oct 2;139(1):33-44. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2009.09.010.


Mechanotransduction, the transformation of mechanical force into an electrical signal, allows living organisms to hear, register movement and gravity, detect touch, and sense changes in cell volume and shape. Hair cells in the inner ear are specialized mechanoreceptor cells that detect sound and head movement. The mechanotransduction machinery of hair cells is extraordinarily sensitive and responds to minute physical displacements on a submillisecond timescale. The recent discovery of several molecular constituents of the mechanotransduction machinery of hair cells provides a new framework for the interpretation of biophysical data and necessitates revision of prevailing models of mechanotransduction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular*
  • Signal Transduction