Research Summary
We study mechanosensory signaling by the inner ear. We focus on the mouse utricle, where we have access to mechanosensitive receptor cells and primary afferent neurons. In this simple circuit we can address fundamental neurobiological questions, such as mechanotransduction, the nature of a simple sensory map, how transmission occurs across unique calyceal synapses, and how different kinds of information are encoded in the spike rate and timing of primary afferent neurons.
Sensory Function, Sensory Neurons, Inner Ear, Hair Cell, Vestibular, Synaptic Transmission, Voltage-Gated Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated Sodium Channels, Voltage-Gated Calcium Channels, Action Potentials
  • Caltech, Pasadena CA, PhD Biology
  • McGill University, Montreal, B.Sc. Honours Neurobiology
  • McGill University, Montreal, M.Sc. Biology
  • MIT & Harvard, Cambridge, Boston, Auditory Physiology
Biosciences Graduate Program Association
  1. González-Garrido A, Pujol R, López-Ramírez O, Finkbeiner C, Eatock RA, Stone JS. The Differentiation Status of Hair Cells That Regenerate Naturally in the Vestibular Inner Ear of the Adult Mouse. J Neurosci. 2021 09 15; 41(37):7779-7796. View in: PubMed

  2. Ono K, Keller J, López Ramírez O, González Garrido A, Zobeiri OA, Chang HHV, Vijayakumar S, Ayiotis A, Duester G, Della Santina CC, Jones SM, Cullen KE, Eatock RA, Wu DK. Retinoic acid degradation shapes zonal development of vestibular organs and sensitivity to transient linear accelerations. Nat Commun. 2020 01 02; 11(1):63. View in: PubMed

  3. Eatock RA. Specializations for Fast Signaling in the Amniote Vestibular Inner Ear. Integr Comp Biol. 2018 08 01; 58(2):341-350. View in: PubMed

  4. McLean WJ, McLean DT, Eatock RA, Edge AS. Distinct capacity for differentiation to inner ear cell types by progenitor cells of the cochlea and vestibular organs. Development. 2016 12 01; 143(23):4381-4393. View in: PubMed

  5. Liu XP, Wooltorton JR, Gaboyard-Niay S, Yang FC, Lysakowski A, Eatock RA. Sodium channel diversity in the vestibular ganglion: NaV1.5, NaV1.8, and tetrodotoxin-sensitive currents. J Neurophysiol. 2016 05 01; 115(5):2536-55. View in: PubMed

  6. Schuth O, McLean WJ, Eatock RA, Pyott SJ. Distribution of Na,K-ATPase a subunits in rat vestibular sensory epithelia. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol. 2014 Oct; 15(5):739-54. View in: PubMed

  7. Songer JE, Eatock RA. Tuning and timing in mammalian type I hair cells and calyceal synapses. J Neurosci. 2013 Feb 20; 33(8):3706-24. View in: PubMed

  8. Maison SF, Liu XP, Eatock RA, Sibley DR, Grandy DK, Liberman MC. Dopaminergic signaling in the cochlea: receptor expression patterns and deletion phenotypes. J Neurosci. 2012 Jan 04; 32(1):344-55. View in: PubMed

  9. Lysakowski A, Gaboyard-Niay S, Calin-Jageman I, Chatlani S, Price SD, Eatock RA. Molecular microdomains in a sensory terminal, the vestibular calyx ending. J Neurosci. 2011 Jul 06; 31(27):10101-14. View in: PubMed

  10. Eatock RA, Songer JE. Vestibular hair cells and afferents: two channels for head motion signals. Annu Rev Neurosci. 2011; 34:501-34. View in: PubMed

  11. Kalluri R, Xue J, Eatock RA. Ion channels set spike timing regularity of mammalian vestibular afferent neurons. J Neurophysiol. 2010 Oct; 104(4):2034-51. View in: PubMed

  12. Maison SF, Liu XP, Vetter DE, Eatock RA, Nathanson NM, Wess J, Liberman MC. Muscarinic signaling in the cochlea: presynaptic and postsynaptic effects on efferent feedback and afferent excitability. J Neurosci. 2010 May 12; 30(19):6751-62. View in: PubMed

  13. Eatock RA. Neuroscience: Up, down, flying around. Nature. 2009 Mar 12; 458(7235):156-7. View in: PubMed

  14. Xia A, Wooltorton JR, Palmer DJ, Ng P, Pereira FA, Eatock RA, Oghalai JS. Functional prestin transduction of immature outer hair cells from normal and prestin-null mice. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol. 2008 Sep; 9(3):307-20. View in: PubMed

  15. Eatock RA, Xue J, Kalluri R. Ion channels in mammalian vestibular afferents may set regularity of firing. J Exp Biol. 2008 Jun; 211(Pt 11):1764-74. View in: PubMed

  16. Wooltorton JR, Gaboyard S, Hurley KM, Price SD, Garcia JL, Zhong M, Lysakowski A, Eatock RA. Developmental changes in two voltage-dependent sodium currents in utricular hair cells. J Neurophysiol. 2007 Feb; 97(2):1684-704. View in: PubMed

  17. Hurley KM, Gaboyard S, Zhong M, Price SD, Wooltorton JR, Lysakowski A, Eatock RA. M-like K+ currents in type I hair cells and calyx afferent endings of the developing rat utricle. J Neurosci. 2006 Oct 04; 26(40):10253-69. View in: PubMed

  18. Spector AA, Popel AS, Eatock RA, Brownell WE. Mechanosensitive channels in the lateral wall can enhance the cochlear outer hair cell frequency response. Ann Biomed Eng. 2005 Aug; 33(8):991-1002. View in: PubMed

  19. Wong WH, Hurley KM, Eatock RA. Differences between the negatively activating potassium conductances of Mammalian cochlear and vestibular hair cells. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol. 2004 Sep; 5(3):270-84. View in: PubMed

  20. Eatock RA, Hurley KM. Functional development of hair cells. Curr Top Dev Biol. 2003; 57:389-448. View in: PubMed

  21. Eatock RA. Auditory physiology: listening with K+ channels. Curr Biol. 2003 Sep 30; 13(19):R767-9. View in: PubMed

  22. Bao H, Wong WH, Goldberg JM, Eatock RA. Voltage-gated calcium channel currents in type I and type II hair cells isolated from the rat crista. J Neurophysiol. 2003 Jul; 90(1):155-64. View in: PubMed

  23. Vollrath MA, Eatock RA. Time course and extent of mechanotransducer adaptation in mouse utricular hair cells: comparison with frog saccular hair cells. J Neurophysiol. 2003 Oct; 90(4):2676-89. View in: PubMed

  24. Brichta AM, Aubert A, Eatock RA, Goldberg JM. Regional analysis of whole cell currents from hair cells of the turtle posterior crista. J Neurophysiol. 2002 Dec; 88(6):3259-78. View in: PubMed

  25. Eatock RA, Hurley KM, Vollrath MA. Mechanoelectrical and voltage-gated ion channels in mammalian vestibular hair cells. Audiol Neurootol. 2002 Jan-Feb; 7(1):31-5. View in: PubMed

  26. Liu M, Pereira FA, Price SD, Chu MJ, Shope C, Himes D, Eatock RA, Brownell WE, Lysakowski A, Tsai MJ. Essential role of BETA2/NeuroD1 in development of the vestibular and auditory systems. Genes Dev. 2000 Nov 15; 14(22):2839-54. View in: PubMed

  27. Chen JW, Eatock RA. Major potassium conductance in type I hair cells from rat semicircular canals: characterization and modulation by nitric oxide. J Neurophysiol. 2000 Jul; 84(1):139-51. View in: PubMed

  28. Eatock RA. Adaptation in hair cells. Annu Rev Neurosci. 2000; 23:285-314. View in: PubMed

  29. Oghalai JS, Holt JR, Nakagawa T, Jung TM, Coker NJ, Jenkins HA, Eatock RA, Brownell WE. Harvesting human hair cells. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2000 Jan; 109(1):9-16. View in: PubMed

  30. Eatock RA, Newsome WT. Sensory systems. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 1999 Aug; 9(4):385-8. View in: PubMed

  31. Holt JR, Vollrath MA, Eatock RA. Stimulus processing by type II hair cells in the mouse utricle. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1999 May 28; 871:15-26. View in: PubMed

  32. Bermingham NA, Hassan BA, Price SD, Vollrath MA, Ben-Arie N, Eatock RA, Bellen HJ, Lysakowski A, Zoghbi HY. Math1: an essential gene for the generation of inner ear hair cells. Science. 1999 Jun 11; 284(5421):1837-41. View in: PubMed

  33. Eatock RA, Rüsch A. Developmental changes in the physiology of hair cells. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 1997 Jun; 8(3):265-275. View in: PubMed

  34. Eatock RA, Rüsch A, Lysakowski A, Saeki M. Hair cells in mammalian utricles. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1998 Sep; 119(3):172-81. View in: PubMed

  35. Rüsch A, Lysakowski A, Eatock RA. Postnatal development of type I and type II hair cells in the mouse utricle: acquisition of voltage-gated conductances and differentiated morphology. J Neurosci. 1998 Sep 15; 18(18):7487-501. View in: PubMed

  36. Oghalai JS, Holt JR, Nakagawa T, Jung TM, Coker NJ, Jenkins HA, Eatock RA, Brownell WE. Ionic currents and electromotility in inner ear hair cells from humans. J Neurophysiol. 1998 Apr; 79(4):2235-9. View in: PubMed

  37. Holt JR, Corey DP, Eatock RA. Mechanoelectrical transduction and adaptation in hair cells of the mouse utricle, a low-frequency vestibular organ. J Neurosci. 1997 Nov 15; 17(22):8739-48. View in: PubMed

  38. Rüsch A, Eatock RA. A delayed rectifier conductance in type I hair cells of the mouse utricle. J Neurophysiol. 1996 Aug; 76(2):995-1004. View in: PubMed

  39. Rüsch A, Eatock RA. Voltage responses of mouse utricular hair cells to injected currents. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1996 Jun 19; 781:71-84. View in: PubMed

  40. Nealey T, Spires S, Eatock RA, Begenisich T. Potassium channels in squid neuron cell bodies: comparison to axonal channels. J Membr Biol. 1993 Feb; 132(1):13-25. View in: PubMed

  41. Eatock RA, Saeki M, Hutzler MJ. Electrical resonance of isolated hair cells does not account for acoustic tuning in the free-standing region of the alligator lizard's cochlea. J Neurosci. 1993 Apr; 13(4):1767-83. View in: PubMed

  42. Holt JR, Eatock RA. Inwardly rectifying currents of saccular hair cells from the leopard frog. J Neurophysiol. 1995 Apr; 73(4):1484-502. View in: PubMed

  43. Eatock RA, Corey DP, Hudspeth AJ. Adaptation of mechanoelectrical transduction in hair cells of the bullfrog's sacculus. J Neurosci. 1987 Sep; 7(9):2821-36. View in: PubMed

  44. Smith-Maxwell CJ, Eatock RA, Begenisich T. Induction of K-channel expression in a neuroblastoma cell line. J Neurobiol. 1991 Jun; 22(4):327-41. View in: PubMed

  45. Eatock RA, Weiss TF, Otto KL. Dependence of discharge rate on sound pressure level in cochlear nerve fibers of the alligator lizard: implications for cochlear mechanisms. J Neurophysiol. 1991 Jun; 65(6):1580-97. View in: PubMed

  46. Eatock RA, Hutzler MJ. Ionic currents of mammalian vestibular hair cells. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1992 May 22; 656:58-74. View in: PubMed