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Letters to Nature
Nature 326, 397 - 400 (26 March 1987); doi:10.1038/326397a0

Depletion of cytosolic free calcium induced by photosynthesis

Anthony J. Miller & Dale Sanders

Biology Department, University of York, Heslington, York YO1 5DD, UK

Cytosolic free calcium is widely believed to behave as a second messenger for a wide variety of metabolic and developmental processes in plant cells1–3. Thus, it is expected that environmental stimuli should provoke a change in the concentration of cytosolic free calcium ([Ca2+]c) which then elicits some further response by the cell. However, although spatial differences in [Ca2+]c have been observed in plant cells4,5, direct measurement of a temporal change of [Ca2+]c in response to an environmental stimulus has so far been restricted to the transient rise, largely complete within 2 s, which occurs during an action potential6. This paucity of data is largely due to the difficulties associated with measurement of [Ca2+]cin plant cells7. We show here that Ca2+-selective microelectrodes can be used to report photosynthetically-related changes of [Ca2+]c in the characean alga Nitellopsis. We propose that the light-induced depletion of [Ca2+]c constitutes a fundamental signal which enables the rate of extrachloroplastic metabolism to be geared to photosynthetic processes in the chloroplast. However, light-induced activation of the electrogenic H+ pump at the plasma membrane is independent of changes in [Ca2+]c.

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