Mechanosensory Transduction in Ciliates (Protozoa)

  • J. W. Deitmer
Part of the Advances in Comparative and Environmental Physiology book series (COMPARATIVE, volume 10)


Most living cells are mechanosensitive in that mechanical strain exerted on their plasma membrane results in a transient change in electrical conductance of the membrane. In cells unspecialized for mechanoreception, a mechanically induced “injury” would result in a membrane potential change due to traumatic leak currents. In specialized mechanoreceptor tissue, however, the mechanical energy input results in the opening and/or closing of specific sensory ion channels in the membrane; this may provide a very high sensitivity to a mechanical stimulus. The gating of these mechanosensitive channels results in a defined change in ion conductance, and consequently, in a shift of the membrane potential. The steps of mechanoelectrical coupling are summarized by the following scheme: mechanical energy input — deformation of the sensitive structure — gating of mechanosensory ion channels — change in membrane ion conductance — receptor current flow — receptor potential — voltage-sensitive modification and integration — motor output.


Reversal Potential Ciliary Beat Frequency Membrane Potential Change Receptor Current Ciliary Membrane 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. W. Deitmer
    • 1
  1. 1.Abteilung für Allgemeine Zoologie, FB BiologieUniversität KaiserslauternKaiserslauternGermany

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