# Mechanosensation - Hair Cells - Function

Function

When an event occurs which causes the bundle of cilia to deflect toward the taller side, ion channels open, and a depolarization of the cell is caused by the inward current which results. This is known as a positive deflection. This process involves the stretching of tip links, which pull the ion channels open. A deflection in the opposite direction is termed negative deflection, and causes tip links to relax and the ion channels to close. Perpendicular deflection is ineffective. It is suspected that the site of transduction channels is at the stereocilia tips. The speed with which ion channels respond to deflection leads researchers to believe that mechanical stimuli act directly upon the ion channel, and do not need a second messenger. The sensitivity of cilia is primarily due to ciliary length. The stereocilia of functional hair cells have the ability to convert mechanical deflections to neural signals.

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