Cilia: Activation Coupled to Mechanical Stimulation by Calcium Influx

Science  24 Mar 1972:
Vol. 175, Issue 4028, pp. 1375-1377
DOI: 10.1126/science.175.4028.1375


Ciliated epithelial cells in the oviduct of Necturus maculosus were stimulated mechanically by brief dimpling with a microstylus. This treatment produlced a transient depolarization of the membrane, and a transient increase in the frequency of ciliary beating. The increase in frequency of ciliary beating was related to the concentration of extracellular calcium ion, decreasing with reductiotn in calcium. Addition of lanthanum was followed by a decrease in spontaneous ciliary aictivity and a hyperpolarization of the membrane. In the presence of lanthanum, the transietnt depolarization in response to mechanical stimulation had a shorter timte course, and the concomitant increase in ciliary frequency was greatly reduced. It is concluded that calciuml ions enter the cell as a result of mechanical stimulationi of the membrane, and that calcium influx leads to an increase in the frequency of ciliary activity.