, Volume 156, Issue 5, pp 466–474 | Cite as

Wound-healing motility in the green alga Ernodesmis: calcium ions and metabolic energy are required

  • John W. La ClaireII


Wounding a giant cell of the marine alga Ernodesmis verticillata (Kützing) Børgesen (Chlorophyta) induces two concomitant motility phenomena: longitudinal contraction of the protoplasm away from the wound site, and centripetal contraction of the cut end around the central vacuole. Healing is complete within 30 min of wounding. Mechanical extrusion of the protoplasm into the medium with a teasing needle is followed by contraction of the protoplasm into numerous spherical protoplasts within 60 min. Utilizing a simple defined medium, it is shown that motility is almost completely inhibited by the absence of exogenous free Ca2+, with 5.0 mM ethylene glycol bis-(β-aminoethyl ether)-N,N,N′,N′-tetraacetic acid present. This inhibition is reversible by rinsing the cells with Ca2+-containing medium. Similarly, extruded cytoplasm fails to exhibit motility in Ca2+-free medium. The threshold concentration of exogenous free Ca2+ is approx. 10-7 M for wound-induced contraction. The ions Ba2+, Cd2+ and Sr2+ will substitute for Ca2+, but the rate of contraction is one-half that with Ca2+ present. Although darkness has no inhibitory effect, lower temperature (15°C), cyanide, or micromolar amounts of phosphorylation uncouplers reversibly slow protoplasmic motility in wounded cells and extruded cytoplasm. Carbonylcyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone and carbonylcyanide p-trifluoromethoxyphenylhydrazone are especially potent inhibitors. These results indicate that cellular wound healing utilizes metabolic energy and requires exogenous free Ca2+, implying that motility in Ernodesmis is a true contractile process. Since 1.0 mM La3+ completely and reversibly prevents contraction, it is postulated that Ca2+ fluxes may actually trigger motility.

Key words

Calcium and motility/wound healing Cell repair Chlorophyta Ernodesmis Motility Wound healing 



carbonylcyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone






ethylene glycol bis-(β-aminoethyl ether)-N,N,N′,N′-tetraacetic acid


carbonylcyanide p-trifluoromethoxyphenylhydrazone


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • John W. La ClaireII
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BotanyUniversity of TexasAustinUSA

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