A Paramecium cell responded to heat and cold stimuli, exhibiting increased frequency of directional changes in its swimming behavior. The increase in the frequency of directional changes was maintained during heating, but was transient during cooling. Although variations were large, as expected with this type of electrophysiological recording, results consistently showed a sustained depolarization of deciliated cells in response to heating. Depolarizations were also consistently observed upon cooling. However, these depolarizations were transient and not continuous throughout the cooling period. These depolarizations were lost or became small in Ca2+-free solutions. In a voltage-clamped cell, heating induced a continuous inward current and cooling induced a transient inward current under conditions where K+ currents were suppressed. The heat-induced inward current was not affected significantly by replacing extracellular Ca2+ with equimolar concentrations of Ba2+, Sr2+, Mg2+, or Mn2+, and was lost upon replacing with equimolar concentration of Ni2+. On the other hand, the cold-induced inward current was not affected significantly by Ba2+, or Sr2+, however the decay of the inward current was slowed and was lost or became small upon replacing with equimolar concentrations of Mg2+, Mn2+, or Ni2+. These results indicate that Paramecium cells have heat-activated Ca2+ channels and cold-activated Ca2+ channels and that the cold-activated Ca2+ channel is different from the heat-activated Ca2+ channel in the ion selectivity and the calcium-dependent inactivation.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 1, 1999
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