Thermo-sensitive response based on the membrane fluidity adaptation in Paramecium multimicronucleatum
Journal of Experimental Biology
Relationships between the thermo-sensitive response and membrane lipid fluidity were studied using a ciliated protozoan, Paramecium multimicronucleatum. Paramecium elicits a transient membrane depolarization in response to a cooling stimulus (temperature drop). The depolarization amplitude was largest when the cooling stimulus was started from the culture temperature, whilst when cooling started at a temperature more than 5°C higher or lower than the culture temperature, only a small
... a small depolarization was induced. Therefore, the cooling-induced response was dependent on the culture temperature and its sensitivity to the cooling stimulus was highest at the culture temperature. Membrane fluidity measurements of living cells using the fluorescent dye 6-lauroyl-2-dimethylaminonaphthalene (laurdan) showed that the fluidity measured at the culture temperature was almost constant irrespective of the temperature at which the cells had been cultured and adapted, which is consistent with homeoviscous adaptation. The constant fluidity at the culture temperature quickly decreased within a few seconds of application of the cooling stimulus, and the decreased fluidity gradually readapted to a constant level at the decreased temperature within 1 h. When the constant fluidity at culture temperature was modified by the addition of procaine or benzyl alcohol, the cooling-induced depolarization was completely abolished. These results suggest the possibility that the adaptation of fluidity to a constant level and its quick decrease below the constant level activate cooling-sensitive channels to elicit the transient depolarization.