Immobilization of Paramecium followed the binding of antibodies to the major proteins of the ciliary membrane (the immobilization antigens, i-antigens, approximately 250,000 mol wt). Immunoelectron microscopy showed this binding to be serotype-specific and to occur over the entire cell surface. Antibody binding also reduced the current through the Ca-channel of the excitable ciliary membrane as monitored using a voltage-clamp. The residual Ca-current appeared normal in its voltage sensitivity and kinetics. As a secondary consequence of antibody binding, the Ca-induced K-current was also reduced. The resting membrane characteristics and other activatable currents, however, were not significantly altered by the antibody treatment. Since monovalent fragments of the antibodies also reduced the current but did not immobilize the cell, the electrophysiological effects were not the secondary consequences of immobilization. Antibodies against the second most abundant family of proteins (42,000-45,000 mol wt) had similar electrophysiological effects as revealed by experiments in which the Paramecia and the serum were heterologous with respect to the i-antigen but homologous with respect to the 42,000-45,000-mol-wt proteins. Protease treatment, shown to remove the surface antigen, also caused a reduction of the Ca-inward current. The loss of the inward Ca-current does not seem to be due to a drop in the driving force for Ca++ entry since increasing the external Ca++ or reducing the internal Ca++ (through EGTA injection) did not restore the current. Here we discuss the possibilities that (a) the major proteins define the functional environment of the Ca-channel and that (b) the Ca-channel is more susceptible to certain general changes in the membrane.
Membrane excitation was the basis for backward swimming of Paramecium facing stimulus. According to standard genetic tests, inexcitable mutants fell into three complementation groups for both Paramecium tetraurelia (pwA, pwB, and pwC) and Paramecium caudatum (cnrA, cnrB, and cnrC). Cytoplasm from a wild type transferred to a mutant through microinjection restored the excitability. Transfusions between genetically defined complementation groups of the same species effected curing, whereas transfusions between different mutants (alleles) of the same group or between sister cells of the same mutant clone did not. Cytoplasmic transfers of all combinations among the six groups of mutants of the two species showed that any cytoplasm, except those from the same group, was able to cure. Since the pawns and the caudatum nonreversals complement one another through transfusion, they appeared to belong to six different complementation groups. The extent of curing, the amount of transfer needed to cure, and the time course of curing were characteristic of the group that received the transfusion. Variations in these parameters further suggested that the six groups represented six different genes. Because the donor cytoplasms from either species were equally effective quantitatively in curing a given mutant, the curing factors were not species specific. These factors are discussed.
Mutants in Paramecium tetraurelia, unable to generate action potentials, have been isolated as cells which show no backward swimming in response to ionic stimulation. These "pawn" mutants belong to at least three complementation groups designated pwA, pwB, and pwC. We have found that microinjection of cytoplasm from a wild-type donor into a pawn recipient of any of the three complementation groups restores the ability of the pawn to generate action potentials and hence swim backward. In addition, the cytoplasm from a pawn cannot restore a recipient of the same complementation group, but that from a pawn of a different group can. Electrophysiological analysis had demonstrated that the restoration of backward swimming is not due to a simple addition of ions but represents a profound change in the excitable membrane of the recipient pawn cells. Using known pawn mutants and those which had previously been unclassified, we have been able to establish a perfect concordance of genetic complementation and complementation by cytoplasmic transfer through microinjection. This method has been used to classify pawn mutants that are sterile or hard-to-mate and to examine the ability of cytoplasms from different species of ciliated protozoa to restore the ability to swim backward in the pawn mutants of P. tetraurelia. A cell homogenate has also been fractionated by centrifugation to further purify the active components. These results demonstrate that transfer of cytoplasm between cells by microinjection can be a valid and systematic method to classify mutants. This test is simpler to perform than the genetic complementation test and can be used under favorable conditions in mutants that are sterile and in cells of different species.