Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 506851
Title Semicircular canals circumvent brownian motion overload of mechanoreceptor hair cells
Author(s) Muller, Mees; Heeck, Kier; Elemans, Coen P.H.
Source PLoS One 11 (2016)7. - ISSN 1932-6203
DOI https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0159427
Department(s) Experimental Zoology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Abstract

Vertebrate semicircular canals (SCC) first appeared in the vertebrates (i.e. ancestral fish) over 600 million years ago. In SCC the principal mechanoreceptors are hair cells, which as

compared to cochlear hair cells are distinctly longer (70 vs. 7 μm), 10 times more compliant to bending (44 vs. 500 nN/m), and have a 100-fold higher tip displacement threshold (< 10 μm vs. <400 nm).We have developed biomechanical models of vertebrate hair cells where the

bundle is approximated as a stiff, cylindrical elastic rod subject to friction and thermal agitation. Our models suggest that the above differences aid SCC hair cells in circumventing the masking effects of Brownian motion noise of about 70 nm, and thereby permit transduction of

very low frequency (<10 Hz) signals.We observe that very low frequency mechanoreception

requires increased stimulus amplitude, and argue that this is adaptive to circumvent Brownian motion overload at the hair bundles. We suggest that the selective advantage of detecting such low frequency stimuli may have favoured the evolution of large guiding structures such as semicircular canals and otoliths to overcome Brownian Motion noise at the level of the mechanoreceptors of the SCC.

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