Hongyu Zhao


March 2012

Document Type


Degree Name



Oregon Health & Science University


Inner ear hair cells are critical to our senses of hearing and balance. Mechanotransduction happens in the hair bundle, a unique sub-cellular organelle of the hair cells. This thesis characterizes some molecular components of the hair bundle, explores the localization of these molecules, and studies the interactions among them. Chapter 1 gives the background of the relevant literature on molecular components of hair bundle, mechanotransduction, and lipid domains, highlighting what information is lacking and how the experiments on this thesis will advance our understanding. Chapter 2 describes an improved method to transfect hair cells, as a useful tool to study localization and interaction of hair bundle proteins. Chapter 3 presents data on the lipid components of and functional lipid domains on the hair bundle. Chapter 4 presents data on the interaction of several hair bundle proteins related to mechanotransduction. Combined, this thesis characterizes molecular components of the hair bundle and provides new insights into their localization, interaction, and function.




Neuroscience Graduate Program


School of Medicine



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