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Title: Effect of bidirectional mechanoelectrical coupling on spontaneous oscillations and sensitivity in a model of hair cells
Authors: Amro, Rami
Neiman, Alexander
Keywords: sensory hair cells
stochastic dynamics
Issue Date: 6-Nov-2014
Publisher: American Physical Society
Abstract: Sensory hair cells of amphibians exhibit spontaneous activity in their hair bundles and membrane potentials, reflecting two distinct active amplification mechanisms employed in these peripheral mechanosensors. We use a two-compartment model of the bullfrog's saccular hair cell to study how the interaction between its mechanical and electrical compartments affects the emergence of distinct dynamical regimes, and the role of this interaction in shaping the response of the hair cell to weak mechanical stimuli. The model employs a Hodgkin-Huxley-type system for the basolateral electrical compartment and a nonlinear hair bundle oscillator for the mechanical compartment, which are coupled bidirectionally. In the model, forward coupling is provided by the mechanoelectrical transduction current, flowing from the hair bundle to the cell soma. Backward coupling is due to reverse electromechanical transduction, whereby variations of the membrane potential affect adaptation processes in the hair bundle. We isolate oscillation regions in the parameter space of the model and show that bidirectional coupling affects significantly the dynamics of the cell. In particular, self-sustained oscillations of the hair bundles and membrane potential can result from bidirectional coupling, and the coherence of spontaneous oscillations can be maximized by tuning the coupling strength. Consistent with previous experimental work, the model demonstrates that dynamical regimes of the hair bundle change in response to variations in the conductances of basolateral ion channels. We show that sensitivity of the hair cell to weak mechanical stimuli can be maximized by varying coupling strength, and that stochasticity of the hair bundle compartment is a limiting factor of the sensitivity.
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