Robert Fettiplace

Position title: Ph.D., 1974, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England


Phone: (608) 262-9320

RESEARCH INTERESTS - Mechanisms of mechanotransduction and frequency tuning in auditory hair cells

Robert Fettiplace

My research focuses on the physiology of hair cells isolated from the inner ear and studied with patch clamp recording and optical imaging. This research has provided descriptions of the mechanosensory transduction mechanism, the membrane channels involved in frequency tuning, and the regulatory roles of intracellular calcium. My current interest lies with the outer hair cells of the mammalian cochlea, the mechanotransducer channels and the mechanism of force generation by the stereociliary bundle that may underlie amplification and tuning of the auditory signal.

Scanning electron micrographs

Figure: (A) Scanning electron micrographs of the stereociliary bundles of rat cochlear inner (top) and outer hair cells; scale bar = 2.6 mm (top) and 2.0 mm (bottom). (B) Single mechanotransducer channels evoked by deflections of the stereociliary bundle of an inner hair cell. The unitary conductance is about 200 pS (see Beurg et al. 2006).

Selected Publications

  • Johnson SL, Beurg M, Marcotti W & Fettiplace R. (2011) Prestin-driven cochlear amplification is not limited by the outer hair cell membrane time constant. Neuron 70 (in press)
  • Beurg, M., Nam, J-H. Chen, Q. & Fettiplace, R (2010) Calcium balance and mechanotransduction in rat cochlear hair cells. J Neurophysiology 104:18-34
  • Nam J.-H, Fettiplace R. (2010) Force transmission in the organ of Corti micromachine. Biophys J. 98:2813-21.
  • Mahendrasingam S, Beurg M, Fettiplace R, Hackney CM. (2010) The ultrastructural distribution of prestin in outer hair cells from low and high frequency regions of the rat cochlea. European J. Neurosci 31:1595-1605
  • Fettiplace R (2009) Defining features of the hair cell mechanoelectrical transducer channel. Pflug Archiv 458:1115-23
  • Beurg, M., Fettiplace R, Nam, J-H & Ricci A.J. (2009) Localization of inner hair cell mechanotransducer channels using high speed calcium imaging. Nature Neuroscience 12:553-558. (Paper selected for News and Views)
  • Nam, J.-H. & Fettiplace, R. (2008) Theoretical conditions for high-frequency hair bundle oscillations in auditory hair cells. Biophys J 95, 4948-4962
  • Furness DN, Mahendrasingam S, Ohashi M, Fettiplace R, Hackney CM. (2008) The dimensions and composition of stereociliary rootlets in mammalian cochlear hair cells: comparison between high- and low-frequency cells and evidence for a connection to the lateral membrane. J. Neuroscience 28, 6342-6353
  • Beurg M, Nam J.-H., Crawford AC & Fettiplace R. (2008) The effects of calcium on hair bundle mechanics in mammalian cochlear hair cells. Biophys J 94, 2639-53
  • Beurg, M., Evans, M.G., Hackney, C.M., & Fettiplace R. (2006) A large-conductance calcium-selective mechanotransducer channel in mammalian cochlear hair cells. J. Neuroscience 26, 10992-1100. (Paper selected for “Research highlights” in Nature)
  • Kennedy, H.J., Evans, M.G., Crawford, A.C. & Fettiplace, R. (2006) Depolarization of cochlear outer hair cells evokes active hair bundle motion by two mechanisms. J. Neuroscience 26, 2757-2766
  • Fettiplace, R. & Hackney C.M. (2006) The sensory and motor roles of auditory hair cells. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 7:19-29.
    Abstract | Full Text | PDF
  • Ricci, A.J., Kennedy, H.J., Crawford, A.C. & Fettiplace, R. (2005) The kinetics of mechanotransducer currents in auditory hair cells. J. Neuroscience 25:7831-7839.
    Abstract | Full Text | PDF
  • Hackney C.M, Mahendrasingam S., Penn, A. & Fettiplace, R. (2005) The concentrations of calcium buffering proteins in mammalian cochlear hair cells. J. Neuroscience 25:7867-7886.
    Abstract | Full Text | PDF
  • Kennedy, H.J, Crawford A.C. & Fettiplace, R. (2005) Force generation by mammalian hair bundles supports a role in cochlear amplification. Nature 433:880-883.
    Abstract | Full Text | PDF
  • Ricci, A.J., Crawford, A.C. Fettiplace, R. (2003) Tonotopic variation in the conductance of the hair cell mechanotransducer channel.Neuron 40: 983-990.
    Abstract | Full Text
  • Hackney, C.M., Mahendrasingam, S., Jones, E.M.C. & Fettiplace, R. (2003) The distribution of calcium buffering proteins in auditory hair cells. Journal of Neuroscience 23: 4577-4589.
    Abstract | Full Text | PDF
  • Fettiplace, R. & Ricci, A.J. (2003) Adaptation in auditory hair cells. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 13: 446-451.
  • Kennedy, H.J., Evans, M.G., Crawford, A.C. & Fettiplace, R. (2003) Fast adaptation of mechanoelectrical transducer channels in mammalian cochlear hair cells. Nature Neuroscience 6: 832-836..
    Full Text | PDF
  • Fettiplace, R., Ricci, A.J. & Hackney, C.M. (2001) Clues to the cochlear amplifier from the turtle ear. Trends in Neuroscience 24: 169-175.
  • Ricci, A.J., Crawford A.C. & Fettiplace, R. (2000) Active hair bundle motion linked to fast transducer adaptation in auditory hair cells. Journal of Neuroscience 20: 7131-7142.
    Abstract | Full Text | PDF
  • Fettiplace R. & Fuchs, P.A. (1999) Mechanisms of hair cell tuning. Annual Reviews of Physiology 61: 809-834.
    Abstract | Full Text | PDF