Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 198, Issue 6, pp 477–483 | Cite as

Calcium buffering and clearance in spider mechanosensory neurons

  • Joscha Schmitz
  • Ulli Höger
  • Päivi H. Torkkeli
  • Andrew S. French
Short Communication


Spider VS-3 mechanoreceptor neurons have a low-voltage-activated Ca2+ current that raises intracellular calcium concentration [Ca2+] when they are depolarized by agonists of GABAA receptors or fire action potentials. The Ca2+ rise produces negative feedback by modulating the mechanoreceptor current and regulates Ca2+- and voltage-activated K+ currents. However, nothing is known about Ca2+ buffering in VS-3 neurons. Dynamic changes in VS-3 neuron intracellular [Ca2+] were measured using the fluorescent Ca2+ indicator Oregon Green BAPTA-1 (OG488) to understand Ca2+ buffering and clearance. Intracellular OG488 concentration increased slowly over more than 2 h as it diffused through a sharp intracellular microelectrode and spread through the cell. This slow increase was used to measure endogenous Ca2+ buffering and clearance by the added buffer technique, with OG488 acting as both added exogenous buffer and Ca2+ indicator. [Ca2+] was raised for brief periods by regular action potential firing, produced by pulsed electric current injection through the microelectrode. The resulting rise and fall of [Ca2+] were well fitted by the single compartment model of Ca2+ dynamics. With earlier ratiometric [Ca2+] estimates, these data gave an endogenous Ca2+ binding ratio of 684. Strong Ca2+ buffering may assist these neurons to deal with rapid changes in mechanical inputs.


Cupiennius salei Mechanosensory Fluorescence Single compartment Calcium indicator 



The study was supported by Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Shannon Meisner provided excellent technical assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joscha Schmitz
    • 1
  • Ulli Höger
    • 1
  • Päivi H. Torkkeli
    • 1
  • Andrew S. French
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology and BiophysicsDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

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