Journal Article

Electrical Perception of the ‘Death Message’ in <i>Chara</i>: Analysis of K<sup>+</sup>-sensitive Depolarization

Teruo Shimmen

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 46, issue 11, pages 1839-1847
Published in print November 2005 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online November 2005 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI:
Electrical Perception of the ‘Death Message’ in Chara: Analysis of K+-sensitive Depolarization

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  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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Wounding electrical responses were studied in Chara corallina. Specimens comprising two adjoining internodal cells were prepared. When one cell (victim cell) was cut, the other cell (receptor cell) generated four kinds of depolarization: (i) rapid depolarization; (ii) long-lasting depolarization; (iii) action potentials; and (iv) small spikes. In the present study, attention was focused on the long-lasting depolarization. A decrease in the electrical resistance suggested activation of ion channel(s). The duration of the depolarization was sensitive to the external ions. K+ significantly prolonged the depolarization. On the other hand, Ca2+, Mg2+ and Na+ had a tendency to shorten the duration prolonged by K+. When a nodal end was continuously flushed with a medium lacking K+, the depolarization was significantly shortened. Treatment of the nodal end with artificial cell sap for 2 min induced a long-lasting depolarization similar to that induced by cutting the victim cell. These findings suggested the involvement of K+ released from the victim cell in generating the long-lasting depolarization by the receptor cell.

Keywords: Chara; Death message; Depolarization; K+ ion channel; Membrane potential; Wounding response; ACS, artificial cell sap; APW, artificial pond water; Em, membrane potential; R cell, receptor cell; TEA, tetraethylammonium chloride; V cell, victim cell

Journal Article.  6073 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biochemistry ; Molecular and Cell Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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