Electron cryo-tomography of vestibular hair-cell stereocilia

Zoltan Metlagel, Jocelyn F. Krey, Junha Song, Mark F. Swift, William J. Tivol, Rachel A. Dumont, Jasmine Thai, Alex Chang, Helia Seifikar, Niels Volkmann, Dorit Hanein, Peter G. Barr-Gillespie, Manfred Auer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


High-resolution imaging of hair-cell stereocilia of the inner ear has contributed substantially to our understanding of auditory and vestibular function. To provide three-dimensional views of the structure of stereocilia cytoskeleton and membranes, we developed a method for rapidly freezing unfixed stereocilia on electron microscopy grids, which allowed subsequent 3D imaging by electron cryo-tomography. Structures of stereocilia tips, shafts, and tapers were revealed, demonstrating that the actin paracrystal was not perfectly ordered. This sample-preparation and imaging procedure will allow for examination of structural features of stereocilia in a near-native state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-155
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Structural Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2019


  • Actin
  • Cryo-electron microscopy
  • Hair cells
  • Stereocilia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology


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