Treatment of stage 5 Xenopus embryos with the ionophore A23187 for only 10 min, in the absence of extracellular Mg2+ and Ca2+, causes cortical contractions and a high incidence of abnormal embryos during subsequent development. Cation analysis shows that divalent ions are not lost from the embryos, but that Ca2+ is redistributed within the subcellular fractions. Ca2+ is probably released from yolk platelets and/or pigment granules by the action of A23187, [Ca2+] rises in the cytosol, and the mitochondria attempt to take up this free Ca2+. The mitochondria concomitantly undergo characteristic ultrastructural transformations, changing towards energized-twisted and energized-zigzag conformations. A23187 allows these changes to be demonstrated in situ. Extracellular divalent cations (10(-4) M) interfere with this intracellular action of A23187. Intracellular accumulation of Na+ (by treatment with ouabain) or Li+ also causes abnormal development, probably by promoting a release of Ca2+ from the mitochondria. It is suggested (a) that all these treatments cause a rise in [Ca2+]i which interferes with normal, integrated cell division, so causing, in turn, abnormal embryogenesis, (b) that levels of [Ca2+]i are of importance in regulating cleavage, (c) that the mitochondria could well have a function in regulating [Ca2+]i during embryogenesis in Xenopus, and (d) that vegetalizing agents may well act by promoting a rise in [Ca2+]i in specific cells in the amphibian embryo.
Role of calcium ions in the control of embryogenesis of Xenopus. Changes in the subcellular distribution of calcium in early cleavage embryos after treatment with the ionophore A23187.
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J C Osborn, C J Duncan, J L Smith; Role of calcium ions in the control of embryogenesis of Xenopus. Changes in the subcellular distribution of calcium in early cleavage embryos after treatment with the ionophore A23187.. J Cell Biol 1 March 1979; 80 (3): 589–604. doi: https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.80.3.589
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