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Elife ; 82019 04 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30932811


Sound analysis by the cochlea relies on frequency tuning of mechanosensory hair cells along a tonotopic axis. To clarify the underlying biophysical mechanism, we have investigated the micromechanical properties of the hair cell's mechanoreceptive hair bundle within the apical half of the rat cochlea. We studied both inner and outer hair cells, which send nervous signals to the brain and amplify cochlear vibrations, respectively. We find that tonotopy is associated with gradients of stiffness and resting mechanical tension, with steeper gradients for outer hair cells, emphasizing the division of labor between the two hair-cell types. We demonstrate that tension in the tip links that convey force to the mechano-electrical transduction channels increases at reduced Ca2+. Finally, we reveal gradients in stiffness and tension at the level of a single tip link. We conclude that mechanical gradients of the tip-link complex may help specify the characteristic frequency of the hair cell.

PLoS One ; 13(5): e0196383, 2018.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29746494


Morphological transformations in primitive organisms have long been observed; however, its biomechanical roles are largely unexplored. In this study, we investigate the structural advantages of dimorphism in Arthrospira platensis, a filamentous multicellular cyanobacterium. We report that helical trichomes, the default shape, have a higher persistence length (Lp), indicating a higher resistance to bending or a large value of flexural rigidity (kf), the product of the local cell stiffness (E) and the moment of inertia of the trichomes' cross-section (I). Through Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), we determined that the E of straight and helical trichomes were the same. In contrast, our computational model shows that I is greatly dependent on helical radii, implying that trichome morphology is the major contributor to kf variation. According to our estimation, increasing the helical radii alone can increase kf by 2 orders of magnitude. We also observe that straight trichomes have improved gliding ability, due to its structure and lower kf. Our study shows that dimorphism provides mechanical adjustability to the organism and may allow it to thrive in different environmental conditions. The higher kf provides helical trichomes a better nutrient uptake through advection in aquatic environments. On the other hand, the lower kf improves the gliding ability of straight trichomes in aquatic environments, enabling it to chemotactically relocate to more favorable territories when it encounters certain environmental stresses. When more optimal conditions are encountered, straight trichomes can revert to their original helical form. Our study is one of the first to highlight the biomechanical role of an overall-shape transformation in cyanobacteria.

Forma Celular/fisiologia , Spirulina/citologia , Spirulina/metabolismo , Fenômenos Bioquímicos , Transporte Biológico/fisiologia , Fenômenos Biomecânicos , Biofísica , Simulação por Computador , Cianobactérias/citologia , Cianobactérias/metabolismo , Cianobactérias/fisiologia , Tricomas/fisiologia