The purine nucleotide GTP causes a complex behavioral response and two distinct electrophysiological responses in the ciliated protozoan Paramecium tetraurelia. One of the two electrophysiological responses is an oscillating current that is responsible for the repeated backward swimming episodes that constitute the behavioral response to GTP. The second electrophysiological response is a sustained current whose relationship to the first is unknown. Here we show that the purine nucleotide XTP can completely block both the behavioral response to GTP and its associated oscillating current, but not the sustained current induced by GTP. Notably, XTP alone causes a sustained current similar to that induced by GTP. We believe the data support the notion that P. tetraurelia possesses two distinct signal transduction pathways sensitive to purine nucleotides: one specific for GTP that leads to oscillating currents and behavior, and a second pathway activated by GTP and other purine nucleotides that leads to a sustained current.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: May 1, 1998
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