A virtual hair cell, I: Addition of gating spring theory into a 3-D bundle mechanical model
We have developed a virtual hair cell that simulates hair cell mechanoelectrical transduction in the turtle utricle. This study combines a full three-dimensional hair bundle mechanical model with a gating spring theory. Previous mathematical models represent the hair bundle with a single degree of freedom system which, we have argued, cannot fully explain hair bundle mechanics. In our computer model, the tip link tension and fast adaptation modulator kinetics determine the opening and closing of each channel independently. We observed the response of individual transduction channels with our presented model. The simulated results showed three features of hair cells in vitro. First, a transient rebound of the bundle tip appeared when fast adaptation dominated the dynamics. Second, the dynamic stiffness of the bundle was minimized when the response-displacement (I-X) curve was steepest. Third, the hair cell showed "polarity'', i. e., activation decreased from a peak to zero as the forcing direction rotated from the excitatory to the inhibitory direction.