We report on the linear and nonlinear dielectric properties of budding yeast (S. cerevisiae) cells, one strain of which has been genetically modified to express prestin. This motor protein plays a crucial role in the large electromotility exhibited by the outer hair cells of mammalian inner ears. Live cell suspensions exhibit enormous dielectric responses, which can be used to probe metabolic activity, membrane potential, and other properties. The aims of this study are: (1) to compare the dielectric responses of organisms expressing prestin from those of control specimens, and (2) ultimately to further develop dielectric response as a tool to study live cells, proteins, and lipids.
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