The transfer characteristics of hair cells encoding mechanical stimuli in the lateral line of zebrafish

Pichler, Paul and Lagnado, Leon (2019) The transfer characteristics of hair cells encoding mechanical stimuli in the lateral line of zebrafish. Journal of Neuroscience, 39 (1). pp. 112-124. ISSN 1529-2401

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Hair cells transmit mechanical information by converting deflection of the hair bundle into synaptic release of glutamate. We have investigated this process in the lateral line of larval zebrafish (male and female) to understand how mechanical stimuli are encoded within a neuromast. Using multiphoton microscopy in vivo, we imaged synaptic release of glutamate using the reporter iGluSnFR and deflections of the cupula. We found that the neuromast is composed of a functionally diverse population of hair cells. Half the hair cells signalled cupula motion in both directions from rest, either by increasing glutamate release in response to a deflection in the positive direction or by reducing release in the negative direction. The relationship between cupula deflection and glutamate release demonstrated maximum sensitivity at displacements of just ~40 nm in the positive direction. The remaining hair cells only signalled motion in one direction and were less sensitive, extending the operating range of the neuromast beyond 1 μm. Adaptation of the synaptic output was also heterogeneous, with some hair cells generating sustained glutamate release in response to a steady deflection of the cupula and others generating transient outputs. Finally, a distinct signal encoded a return of the cupula to rest: a large and transient burst of glutamate release from hair cells unresponsive to the initial stimulus. A population of hair cells with these different sensitivities, operating ranges and adaptive properties will allow the neuromast to encode weak stimuli while maintaining the dynamic range to signal the amplitude and duration of stronger deflections.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Neuron, synapse, hair cell
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
School of Life Sciences > Neuroscience
Research Centres and Groups: Sussex Neuroscience
Subjects: Q Science > QP Physiology
Q Science > QP Physiology > QP0351 Neurophysiology and neuropsychology
Q Science > QP Physiology > QP0351 Neurophysiology and neuropsychology > QP0431 Senses
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Leon Lagnado
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2019 11:02
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2019 11:04

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Synaptic computation in the visual systemG1321WELLCOME TRUST102905/Z/13/Z