Structure of the Cortical Cytoskeleton Outer Hair Cells from the Guinea Pig Organ of Corti

  • M. C. Holley
  • J. F. Ashmore
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA)


The mechanism of the length changes observed in outer hair cells isolated from the guinea pig (Brownell et al. 1985; Ashmore, 1987) is probably closely associated with the full length of the lateral plasma membrane (Holley and Ashmore, 1988). The structure of this region was studied in isolated cells which were extracted with 0.5% Triton X-100 in the presence of a buffer designed to stabilise cytoskeletal components (Fey et al., 1984). Triton-extraction removed the plasma membrane, lateral cisternae and 60–70% of the total cellular protein. Remaining structures included the cuticular plate, with its bundle of stereocilia and cytoplasmic processes, and the nucleus; these structures were connected by a self-supporting cytoskeletal sleeve which accurately outlined the original cell-shape. The sleeve possessed sufficient elasticity to restore its shape following small mechanical displacements with a micropipette.


Outer Hair Cell Total Cellular Protein Helical Spring Lateral Plasma Membrane Cuticular Plate 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. C. Holley
    • 1
  • J. F. Ashmore
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology, The Medical SchoolUniversity WalkBristolUK

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