Auditory transduction, the process of converting acoustic energy into a nerve signal, couples the sound-evoked motion of an external receiver structure to the gate of a mechanosensitive ion channel. This chapter summarizes the physiological landscape of insect chordotonal auditory receptors, highlighting features that have informed the understanding of the central mechanisms and specializations of insect auditory transducers and their variation. Primarily based on combined genetic and functional experiments in the Johnston’s organ of Drosophila, we present the current understanding of the molecular complexes associated with auditory transduction. The roles of the ciliary dendritic structures are integrated with those of the ion channels and associated complexes in the ciliary membrane. Finally, the chapter includes speculation on the foci of these mechanisms that may contribute to diverse physiological responses in insect auditory receptors.
KeywordsActive mechanical amplification Chordotonal organ Drosophila Johnston’s organ Katydid crista acustica Locust Müller’s organ Mechanosensitive channel Mechanotransduction Moth ultrasonic hearing NompC Receptor lymph Scolopale cell Scolopidia Stick insect TRP channel
D. F. E. thanks the Iowa Center for Molecular Auditory Neuroscience for support, facilitated by NIH P30 Grant DC010362 to Steven Green. A. K. thanks the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan, for support from the Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas “Memory Dynamism.” J. T. A. thanks the Human Frontier Science Program (RGY0070/2011) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, UK (BB/L02084X/1 and BB/M008533/1) for support.
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