Aligned Organization of Synapses and Mitochondria in Auditory Hair Cells

 Jing Liu1,2,3 • Shengxiong Wang4,5 • Yan Lu5,6,7,8 • Haoyu Wang5,6,7,8 • Fangfang Wang5 • Miaoxin Qiu4 • Qiwei Xie9 • Hua Han1,2,3 • Yunfeng Hua5,6,7,8
1 National Laboratory of Pattern Recognition, Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China 2 School of Artificial Intelligence, School of Future Technology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 101408, China 3 CAS Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence Technology, Shanghai 200031, China
Recent studies have revealed great functional and structural heterogeneity in the ribbon-type synapses at the basolateral pole of the isopotential inner hair cell (IHC). This feature is believed to be critical for audition over a wide dynamic range, but whether the spatial gradient of ribbon morphology is fine-tuned in each IHC and how the mitochondrial network is organized to meet local energy demands of synaptic transmission remain unclear. By means of three-dimensional electron microscopy and artificial intelligence-based algorithms, we demonstrated the cell-wide structural quantification of ribbons and mitochondria in mature mid-cochlear IHCs of mice. We found that adjacent IHCs in staggered pairs differ substantially in cell body shape and ribbon morphology gradient as well as mitochondrial organization. Moreover, our analysis argues for a location-specific arrangement of correlated ribbon and mitochondrial function at the basolateral IHC pole.
Inner hair cell; Ribbon synapse; Mitochondrial network; Volume electron microscopy; AI-based image processing