Translocation of intracellularly stored calcium during the contraction–relaxation cycle in guinea pig taenia coli


ALTHOUGH it has been shown that, in vertebrate smooth muscles, cation binding sites are localised in some intracellular structures1–7, and that isolated microsomal fraction can accumulate Ca in the presence of ATP (refs 8–10), the role of the Ca-accumulating structures in the contraction–relaxation cycle is not firmly established. Using potassium pyroantimonate, which is known to penetrate intact cell membrane in the presence of osmium to produce an electron-opaque precipitate with intracellular cations11,12, experiments on a molluscan smooth muscle have provided evidence that Ca localised in some intracellular structures is released into the myoplasm during mechanical activity13,14. We have used this method to investigate the role of the intracellular Ca-accumulating structures in the contraction–relaxation cycle of guinea pig taenia coli. When guinea pig taenia coli was fixed at rest the electron-opaque precipitate containing Ca was observed at or near the plasma membrane. If the fixation was made at the peak of mechanical activity, the precipitate was diffusely distributed in the myoplasm.

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SUGI, H., DAIMON, T. Translocation of intracellularly stored calcium during the contraction–relaxation cycle in guinea pig taenia coli. Nature 269, 436–438 (1977).

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