Localized all-or-none calcium liberation by inositol trisphosphate

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Science  16 Nov 1990:
Vol. 250, Issue 4983, pp. 977-979
DOI: 10.1126/science.2237441


Laser confocal microscopy was used to monitor calcium ion (Ca2+) liberation from highly localized (micrometer) regions of intact Xenopus oocytes in response to photo-released inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (InsP3). Local Ca2+ release varied in an all-or-none manner with increasing amount of InsP3, in contrast to signals recorded from larger areas, which grew progressively as the concentration of InsP3 was raised above a threshold. Liberation of Ca2+ was restricted to within a few microns of the site of InsP3 release and, in response to agonist activation, localized regions of the oocyte showed asynchronous oscillations in cytoplasmic Ca2+ release. Results obtained with this technique provided direct evidence that InsP3-induced Ca2+ liberation was quantized and suggest that the InsP3-sensitive Ca2+ pool may be a collection of independent, localized compartments that release Ca2+ in an all-or-none manner.

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