Role of Bound Calcium in the Control of Cilia

  • Y. Naitoh


Ciliary reversal induced by application of cations was investigated in Paramecium caudatum. Ca2+, Mg2+, Ba2+, K+, Rb+ are bound by anionic binding sites on the specimen in a manner consistent with the law of mass action, though their binding affinities vary. Ciliary reversal occurs when calcium ions bound by the sites are liberated in exchange for externally applied cations other than calcium. Thus, the effectiveness of cations in inducing reversal depends on their affinities to the binding sites. Factors which affect the duration of ciliary reversal are (a) initial amount of calcium bound by the anionic sites, (b) final amount of calcium bound by the sites after equilibration with the stimulation medium, and (c) concentration of Ca2+ in the stimulation medium. Cilia in glycerol-extracted Paramecium reorient to a reversed position in the presence of calcium, ATP, and zinc. The following hypothesis is proposed for ciliary reversal: Calcium ions liberated from the cation exchanger system activate a contractile mechanism energized by ATP. Contraction of this component results in the reversal of direction of effective beat by a mechanism not yet understood. The duration of reversal is related to the time course of release of bound calcium.


Anionic Site Angular Change Contractile Mechanism Ionic Factor Stimulation Medium 
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© Plenum Publishing Company Ltd. 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Y. Naitoh
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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