A general mathematical model of transduction events in mechano-sensory stretch receptors

J D Armstrong, A P Jarman, Thomas Suslak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Crayfish (Astacus astacus) muscle stretch receptors show strong homology to mammalian muscle spindles and bipolar neurons in D. melanogaster. All are typical, non-ciliated, stretch-sensitive, afferent neurons. Such receptors are observed in many species and perform an important sensory role. However, they are poorly characterised. A previous study reported a bio-mechanical and behavioural model of A. astacus stretch receptors, which used the principles of elasticity and tension in a spring to describe the adaptation of a mechano-sensory ending. This model described the changing mechano-sensory currents in the receptor when subjected to a stretch protocol. Here, we re-implement and extend this model. Notably, we introduce additional descriptions of voltage-gated channels that are suggested to contribute to stretch receptor mechano-transduction. Our model presents a more complete picture of the initiation of the mechano-receptor potential in response to a stretching stimulus. The inclusion of voltage-dependent sodium and potassium currents in addition to the initial mechano-sensitive sodium current allowed the model to account for most of the initial stretch response of the receptor. This preliminary model has potential for extension to describe fully the behaviour of non-ciliated mechano-sensors across species and predict the molecular mediators of mechano-transduction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-42
Number of pages10
JournalNetwork: Computation in Neural Systems
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Event2nd Scottish Drosophila Research Conference - Dalhousie Building, Old Hawkhill, Balfour Street, Dundee, DD1 4HB, Dundee, United Kingdom
Duration: 9 Dec 2011 → …


  • Animals
  • Mechanoreceptors
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Sensory Receptor Cells
  • Signal Transduction


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