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Letters to Nature
Nature 320, 624 - 626 (17 April 1986); doi:10.1038/320624a0

A gradient of cytoplasmic free calcium a in growing rhizoid cells of Fucus serratus

C. Brownlee & J. W. Wood

Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom,The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth, Devon PL1 2PB, UK

It is becoming increasingly clear that cytoplasmic Ca2+ (Ca2+ cyt.) has an important role in the regulation of plant cell functions as well as in animal cells1–3. However, there is an acute lack of measurements of the cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]cyt) in plants. Direct measurements have so far been limited to Chara and Nitella, using aequorin4, and to Haemanthus endosperm cells, using Quin-2 (ref. 5). The latter study demonstrated a gradient of [Ca2+]cyt in dividing cells. Here we evaluate the use of Ca2+-selective microelectrodes and the fluorescent indicator Quin-2 to measure [Ca2+]cyt in rhizoids of germinating Fucus serratus zygotes. This preparation is particularly attractive for such an investigation as the Fucus zygote is a well-studied developmental system and the relatively large polarized rhizoid cells are predominantly cytoplasmic with no large vacuoles. We demonstrate the presence of a longitudinal gradient of [Ca2+]cyt in the rhizoid cell. This gradient appears to be maintained by preferential Ca2+ influx in the region of the growing tip. The significance of the gradient for cell polarity is discussed.

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