Calcium sensitivity extends the length of ATP-reactivated ciliary axonemes. Academic Article uri icon


  • We use the Ca-dependent activation response of macrocilia of the ctenophore BeroĆ« to map the distribution of Ca sensitivity along axonemes of detergent-extracted ATP-reactivated models. Local iontophoretic application of Ca (or Sr or Ba) to any site along the length of demembranated macrocilia in ATP-Mg solution elicits oscillatory bending. Bending responses are localized to the site of application of these cations and do not propagate. Ca sensitivity for initiating bends is, therefore, distributed along the entire length of the axonemes. Since Ca triggers ATP-dependent microtubule sliding disintegration of macrociliary axonemes, a Ca-sensitive mechanism for activating microtubule sliding extends the length of the axonemes. In contrast, local application of Ca to living dissociated macrociliary cells elicits beating only when applied to the base of the macrocilium, indicating that the effective site of Ca entry is localized to the membrane at the ciliary base. Therefore, the spatial distributions of membrane Ca permeability and axonemal Ca sensors do not coincide.

publication date

  • September 1989