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Publication Detail
Transduction and Amplification in the Ear: Insights from Insects
  • Publication Type:
  • Authors:
    Albert J, Kavlie RG
  • Publisher:
    Springer Science+Business Media
  • Publication date:
  • Place of publication:
    New York
  • Volume:
  • Series:
    Springer Handbook of Auditory Research
  • Edition:
  • Book title:
    Insights from Comparative Hearing Research
  • Series editors:
    Köppl C,Manley GA,Popper AN,Fay RR
  • Keywords:
    Acoustic communication, Adaptation motor, Drosophila, Dynein, Gating compliance, Gating spring, Hearing, Mechanical Feedback, Nanchung, NompA, NompC, Speciation, TilB, Transducer model
Of all the senses, it is the mechanical ones that have kept most of their molecular secrets, and of all the mechanical senses it is arguably the sense of hearing that has been the most reticent. Most centrally, auditory transducer channels have not been identified in any group of animals. This lack of molecular knowledge stands in stark contrast to an impressive body of biophysical knowledge about the general operation of mechanotransducers. During the last decade, an insect has entered the race for the molecules of hearing. Auditory neurons in the ear of the genetically tractable fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster were shown to operate according to the same principles as the sensory cells that mediate hearing in vertebrates. Just like our own ears, the ears of flies actively amplify sound-induced stimuli. Just like in vertebrate hair cells, the fly’s transducers for hearing are spring-gated, mechanically adapting ion channels. This chapter reviews the current state of molecular and mechanistic knowledge about auditory transduction in fruit flies and shows how active transducer modules contribute to sensitive hearing and the creation of species-specific acoustic communication channels.
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