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Polarized condensates confer row identity of hair cell stereocilia
Yingdong Shi1,† , Lin Lin2,† , Chao Wang1,* , Jinwei Zhu2
1Department of Neurology, the First Affiliated Hospital of USTC, Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Cellular Dynamics, Biomedical Sciences and Health Laboratory of Anhui Province, School of Life Sciences, Division of Life Sciences and Medicine, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230027, China
2Bio-X Institutes, Key Laboratory for the Genetics of Developmental and Neuropsychiatric Disorders, Ministry of Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*Correspondence to:Chao Wang ,
J Mol Cell Biol, Volume 14, Issue 7, July 2022, mjac045,

Sound waves are converted into electric signals by hair bundles (also known as stereocilia) in the cochlear hair cells. Stereocilia, a cluster of actin protrusions at the apical surface of hair cells, are organized into rows of graded height (Figure 1). Mechanical force induced by sound waves leads to stereocilia deflection towards the tallest row and subsequent activation of mechanoelectrical transducer channels at the tips of the shorter rows, thus achieving mechanoelectrical transduction (Gillespie and Muller, 2009). Such a staircase-like architecture is essential for auditory perception as manifested by severe deafness caused by genetic mutations that disrupt stereocilia morphology (Barr-Gillespie, 2015). However, little is known about how this planar asymmetry of stereocilia is achieved.