Sites with high calcium affinity in Paramecium aurelia were identified by high calcium (5 mM) fixation and electron microscope methods. Electron-opaque deposits were observed on the cytoplasmic side of surface membranes, particularly at the basal regions of cilia and trichocyst-pellicle fusion sites. Deposits were also observed on some smooth cytomembranes, within the axoneme of cilia, and on basal bodies. The divalent cations, Mg2+, Mn2+, Sr2+, Ni2+, Ba2+, and Zn2+, could be substituted for Ca2+ in the procedure. Deposits were larger with 5 mM Sr2+. Ba2+, and Mn2+ at ciliary transverse plates and the terminal plate of basal bodies. Microprobe analysis showed that Ca and C1 were concentrated within deposits. In some analyses, S and P were detected in deposits. Also, microprobe analysis of 5 mM Mn2+-fixed P. aurelia showed that those deposits were enriched in Mn and C1 and sometimes enriched in P. Deposits were seen only when the ciliates were actively swimming at the time of fixation. Locomotory mutants having defective membrane Ca-gating mechanisms and ciliates fixed while exhibiting ciliary reversal showed no obvious differences in deposition pattern and intensity. Possible correlations between electron-opaque deposits and the locations of intramembranous particles seen by freeze-fracture studied, as well as sites where fibrillar material associate with membranes are considered. The possibility that the action sites of calcium and other divalent cations were identified is discussed.

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