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Using the low-affinity fluorescent Ca(2+) indicators, Mag-Fura-2 and Mag-Fura Red, we studied light- and InsP(3)-induced Ca(2+) release in permeabilized microvillar photoreceptors of the medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis. Two major components of the phosphoinositide signaling pathway, phospholipase-C and the InsP(3) receptor, were characterized immunologically and appropriately localized in photoreceptors. Whereas phospholipase-C was abudantly expressed in photoreceptive microvilli, InsP(3) receptors were found mostly in submicrovillar endoplasmic reticulum (SER). Permeabilization of the peripheral plasma membrane with saponin allowed direct measurements of luminal free Ca(2+) concentration (Ca(L)) changes. Confocal Ca(2+) imaging using Mag-Fura Red demonstrated that Ins(1,4,5)P(3) mobilizes Ca(2+) from SER. As detected with Mag-Fura-2, a brief 50ms light flash activated rapid Ca(2+) depletion of SER, followed by an effective refilling within 1min of dark adaptation after the light flash. Sensitivity to Ins(1,4,5)P(3) of the Ca(2+) release from SER in leech photoreceptors was accompanied by irreversible uncoupling of phototransduction from Ca(2+) release. Depletion of Ca(2+) stores was induced by Ins(1,4,5)P(3)(EC(50)= 4.75 microM) and the hyper-potent agonist adenophostin A (EC(50)/40nM) while the stereoisomer L-myo Ins(1,4,5)P(3) was totally inactive. Ins(1,4,5)P(3)- or adenophostin A-induced Ca(2+) release was inhibited by 0.1-1mg/ml heparin. The Ca(2+) pump inhibitors, cyclopiazonic acid and thapsigargin, in the presence of Ins(1,4,5)P(3), completely depleted Ca(2+) stores in leech photoreceptors.

Original publication




Journal article


Cell Calcium

Publication Date





335 - 345


Animals, Benzofurans, Calcium, Calcium Channels, Endoplasmic Reticulum, Fluorescent Dyes, Fura-2, Imidazoles, Inositol 1,4,5-Trisphosphate, Inositol 1,4,5-Trisphosphate Receptors, Leeches, Phosphatidylinositol Diacylglycerol-Lyase, Photoreceptor Cells, Invertebrate, Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear, Type C Phospholipases, Vision, Ocular