Mitochondrial form and function in hair cells

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Hair cells (HCs) are specialised sensory receptors residing in the neurosensory epithelia of inner ear sense organs. The precise morphological and physiological properties of HCs allow us to perceive sound and interact with the world around us. Mitochondria play a significant role in normal HC function and are also intricately involved in HC death. They generate ATP essential for sustaining the activity of ion pumps, Ca2+ transporters and the integrity of the stereociliary bundle during transduction as well as regulating cytosolic calcium homoeostasis during synaptic transmission. Advances in imaging techniques have allowed us to study mitochondrial populations throughout the HC, and how they interact with other organelles. These analyses have identified distinct mitochondrial populations between the apical and basolateral portions of the HC, in which mitochondrial morphology appears determined by the physiological processes in the different cellular compartments. Studies in HCs across species show that ototoxic agents, ageing and noise damage directly impact mitochondrial structure and function resulting in HC death. Deciphering the molecular mechanisms underlying this mitochondrial sensitivity, and how their morphology relates to their function during HC death, requires that we first understand this relationship in the context of normal HC function.




O’Sullivan, J. D. B., Bullen, A., & Mann, Z. F. (2023, February 1). Mitochondrial form and function in hair cells. Hearing Research. Elsevier B.V.

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