Compartmentalized vesicular traffic around the hair cell cuticular plate

Hear Res. 1997 May;107(1-2):102-12. doi: 10.1016/s0378-5955(97)00027-0.


Through thin-section and freeze-fracture electron microscopy, we identify structural correlates of an intense vesicular traffic in a narrow band of cytoplasm around the cuticular plate of the bullfrog vestibular hair cells. Myriads of coated and uncoated vesicles associated with longitudinally oriented microtubules populate the narrow cytoplasmic region between the cuticular plate and the actin network of the apical junctional belt. If microtubules in the sensory hair cells, like those in axons, are pathways for organelle transport, then the characteristic distribution of microtubules around the cuticular plate represents transport pathways across the apical region of the hair cells. This compartmentalized membrane traffic system appears to support an intense vesicular release and uptake along a band of apical plasma membrane near the cell border. Functions of this transport system may include membrane recycling as well as exocytotic and endocytotic exchange between the hair cell cytoplasm and the endolymphatic compartment.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Maculae / physiology
  • Acoustic Maculae / ultrastructure
  • Animals
  • Cell Compartmentation
  • Cell Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Cytoplasm / ultrastructure
  • Endocytosis
  • Epithelium / ultrastructure
  • Exocytosis
  • Freeze Fracturing
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / physiology
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / ultrastructure*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Rana catesbeiana / anatomy & histology*
  • Rana catesbeiana / physiology