Electrical Mechanisms Controlling Locomotion in the Ciliated Protozoa

  • R. Eckert


The direction of swimming (forward or backward) in the ciliated protozoa depends on the orientation of the polarized cycle of ciliary movement. This orientation is coupled to membrane potential by membrane-limited movements of Ca2+ into the cell cortex and cilia. Stimuli which depolarize the cell cause the conductance of the membrane to Ca2+ to rise. As a consequence Ca2+, driven by its electrochemical gradient, shows a net influx and accumulates in the cilia and cell cortex. The increasing Ca2+ concentration activates the mechanism for ciliary reversal. As depolarization subsides and Ca2+ diffuses away from the cortex and/or is actively transported out of the cell, the cilia resume their forward-swimming orientation.


Calcium Current Membrane Conductance Cell Cortex Electrochemical Gradient Ciliated Protozoan 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Company Ltd. 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Eckert
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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