Elevation of cytosolic calcium precedes anoxic gene expression in maize suspension-cultured cells

Chalivendra C. Subbaiah, Douglas S. Bush, Martin M. Sachs

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Based on pharmacological evidence, we previously proposed that intracellular Ca2+ mediates the perception of O2 deprivation in maize seedlings. Herein, using fluorescence imaging and photometry of Ca2+ in maize suspension-cultured cells, the proposal was further investigated. Two complementary approaches were taken: (1) real time analysis of anoxiainduced changes in cytosolic Ca2+ concentration ([Ca]i) and (2) experimental manipulation of [Ca]i and then assay of the resultant anoxia-specific responses. O2 depletion caused an immediate increase in [Ca]i, and this was reversible within a few seconds of reoxygenation. The [Ca]i elevation proceeded independent of extracellular Ca2+. The kinetics of the Ca2+ response showed that it occurred much earlier than any detectable changes in gene expression. Ruthenium red blocked the anoxic [Ca]i elevation and also the induction of adh1 (encoding alcohol dehydrogenase) and sh1 (encoding sucrose synthase) mRNA. Ca2+, when added along with ruthenium red, prevented the effects of the antagonist on the anoxic responses. Verapamil and bepridil failed to block the [Ca]i rise induced by anoxia and were equally ineffective on anoxic gene expression. Caffeine induced an elevation of [Ca]i as well as ADH activity under normoxia. The data provide direct evidence for [Ca]i elevation in maize cells as a result of anoxia-induced mobilization of Ca2+ from intracellular stores. Furthermore, any manipulation that modified the [Ca]i rise brought about a parallel change in the expression of two anoxia-inducible genes. Thus, these results corroborate our proposal that [Ca]i is a physiological transducer of anoxia signals in plants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1747-1762
Number of pages16
JournalPlant Cell
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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