Simulation of motor-driven cochlear outer hair cell electromotility

Alexander A. Spector, Mohammed Ameen, Aleksander S. Popel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We propose a three-dimensional (3D) model to simulate outer hair cell electromotility. In our model, the major components of the composite cell wall are explicitly represented. We simulate the activity of the particles/motor complexes in the plasma membrane by generating active strains inside them and compute the overall response of the cell. We also consider the constrained wall and compute the generated active force. We estimate the parameters of our model by matching the predicted longitudinal and circumferential electromotile strains with those observed in the microchamber experiment. In addition, we match the earlier estimated values of the active force and cell wall stiffness. The computed electromotile strains in the plasma membrane and other components of the wall are in agreement with experimental observations in trypsinized cells and in nonmotile cells transfected with Prestin. We discover several features of the 3D mechanism of outer hair cell electromotilty. Because of the constraints under which the motors operate, the motor-related strains have to be 2-3 times larger than the observable strains. The motor density has a strong effect on the electromotile strain. Such effect on the active force is significantly lower because of the interplay between the active and passive properties of the cell wall.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-24
Number of pages14
JournalBiophysical journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics


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