Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


Tightrope act

A component of the ‘tip link’ that conveys tension to mechanically sensitive ion channels in the inner ear has been identified. The finding raises new questions about elastic elements in our hearing apparatus.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: Models for mechanotransduction in hair cells of the inner ear.
Figure 2: Structure of the tip link, and molecular models.


  1. Söllner, C. et al. Nature 428, 955–959 (2004).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  2. Siemens, J. et al. Nature 428, 950–955 (2004).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Boeda, B. et al. EMBO J. 21, 6689–6699 (2002).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Nicolson, T. et al. Neuron 20, 271–283 (1998).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Zhao, Y., Yamoah, E. N. & Gillespie, P. G. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 93, 15469–15474 (1996).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Goodyear, R. J. & Richardson, G. P. J. Neurosci. 23, 4878–4887 (2003).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Howard, J. & Hudspeth, A. J. Neuron 1, 189–199 (1988).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Kachar, B., Parakkal, M., Kurc, M., Zhao, Y. & Gillespie, P. G. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 97, 13336–13341 (2000).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Zhu, B. et al. Biophys. J. 84, 4033–4042 (2003).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Boggon, T. J. et al. Science 296, 1308–1313 (2002).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Sidi, S., Friedrich, R. W. & Nicolson, T. Science 301, 96–99 (2003).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Howard, J. & Bechstedt, S. Curr. Biol. 14, R224–R226 (2004).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Michaely, P., Tomchick, D. R., Machius, M. & Anderson, R. G. EMBO J. 21, 6387–6396 (2002).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Corey, D., Sotomayor, M. Tightrope act. Nature 428, 901–903 (2004).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing