An electrophysiological study was made of the giant, non-coupled salivary gland cells of the leech Haementeria ghilianii (de Filippi, 1849).
Resting membrane potential (−40 mV to −80 mV) was primarily dependent on K+, with a small contribution from a Na+ conductance and an electrogenic Na+ pump. Resting Cl− permeability was low.
The cells generated overshooting action potentials (70–110 mV, 100–400 ms) which appeared to be mediated exclusively by Ca2+ because they were unaffected by removal of external Na+ and were blocked by 5 mmoll−1 Co2+.
Removal of external Ca2+ and addition of 1 mmoll−1 EGTA produced spontaneous action potentials of reduced amplitude (peaking at about 0 mV) and greatly increased duration [typically tens of seconds but sometimes resulting in sustained depolarizations (plateau potentials) extending up to 30min or more]. Action potential amplitude was then dependent on external Na+ concentration, and action potentials were abolished by removal of Na+. The responses were locked by 5 mmoll−1 Co2+, indicating that they were produced by Na+ flowing through Ca2+ channels.
Addition of micromolar concentrations of Ca2+ to Ca2+ free saline decreased spike duration and amplitude, suggesting a competition between Na+ and Ca2+.
An electrogenic Na+ pump was activated by removal of Ca2+, presumably as result of the influx of Na+ during spiking; this produced large increases in membrane potential which occurred spontaneously or when Ca2+ was reintroduced.
In normal saline, spike overshoot and duration were increased when the temperature was lowered by 10°C, whereas in Ca2+-free solution, they were reduced by this change. This suggests that the Ca2+ channel may be differentially affected by cooling, depending on the presence or absence of Ca+
Calcium-Dependent Action Potentials in Giant Salivary Gland Cells of the Leech: Haementeria Ghilianii: Calcium Removal Induces Dependence on Sodium
- Views Icon Views
- Share Icon Share
- Search Site
WERNER A. WUTTKE, MICHAEL S. BERRY; Calcium-Dependent Action Potentials in Giant Salivary Gland Cells of the Leech: Haementeria Ghilianii: Calcium Removal Induces Dependence on Sodium. J Exp Biol 1 September 1988; 138 (1): 431–453. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.138.1.431
Download citation file: