Meeting Abstract

22.5  Wednesday, Jan. 4  The role of viscoelasticity in flow sensing STROTHER, JA*; NGO, V; MCHENRY, MJ; Univ. of California, Irvine; Univ. of California, Irvine; Univ. of California, Irvine mmchenry@uci.edu

Fish sense water flow with receptors, called neuromasts, that are composed of a glycosaminoglycan gel. It is not clear how the viscoelastic properties of this gel affect how a neuromast filters flow signals. We therefore measured the mechanical properties of this material using a micro-aspiration technique. Using the enlarged neuromasts of the mexican blind cavefish (Astyanax mexicanus), we measured the deformation of 15 picoliter samples of the neuromast material in response to a rapid change in pressure. We were able to fit a generalized maxwell model to these deformation measurements in order to characterize the dynamic behavior of the gel. Our measurements demonstrate a major influence of viscoelasticity on determining the filtering properties of a neuromast.