Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 406, Issue 2, pp 212–217 | Cite as

Inhibition of a voltage-dependent Ca current by concanavalin A

  • Ingeborg Ivens
  • Joachim W. Deitmer
Excitable Tissues and Central Nervous Physiology


Incubation of the hypotrichous ciliateStylonychia mytilus in fluorescein-labeled concanavalin A (Con A, 0.1–0.5 μg/ml) produced a strong fluorescence of its membranelles, but comparatively weak fluorescence of the other compound cilia and of the somatic membrane. Compared to untreated cells, the frequency of spontaneous backward movements was reduced in the presence of 0.5 μg/ml ConA. In electrophysiological experiments Con A altered the excitability of the cell membrane. The two-peak action potential lost its second component which is associated with voltage-dependent Ca channels in the membranelles. The corresponding Ca current (Ca current I) was inhibited by low concentrations of Con A (0.2–0.5 μg/ml). A second voltage-dependent Ca current (Ca current II) was not affected. Reducing the K outward current by intracellular Cs and/or extracellular tetraethylammonium, or changing the holding potential, did not restore the Con A-sensitive Ca current I. Con A also inhibited this current when Ca was replaced by Ba. The inhibitory effect of Con A on the voltagedependent Ca current I was prevented by 10–30 mM α-methyl-d-mannoside, and the lectin wheat germ agglutinin (20 μg/ml) did not affect the Ca currents, indicating that the Con A effect was mediated by binding to specific sugar residues on the excitable membrane. The succinylated dimeric derivative of Con A did not inhibit Ca current I up to concentrations of 5 μg/ml. It is concluded that the two voltage-dependent Ca currents inStylonychia can be chemically isolated due to their different sensitivity to Con A, which appears to bind preferentially to sites near or at the Ca channel in the membranellar membrane.

Key words

Ca current Concanavalin A Ciliate Stylonychia mytilus 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ingeborg Ivens
    • 1
  • Joachim W. Deitmer
    • 1
  1. 1.Fakultät für BiologieRuhr-UniversitätBochumFederal Republic of Germany

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