To assess the potential role of G-proteins in chemokinesis, Paramecium tetraurelia was pre-incubated with the G-protein modulator pertussis toxin. Pertussis toxin pretreatment significantly reduced Paramecium chemoattraction to sodium acetate and ammonium chloride in T-maze behavioral assays and depressed the frequency of avoidance reactions, indicating that heterotrimeric G-proteins may be involved with the motility response. To determine whether G-proteins exert their effect via the ciliary voltage-sensitive calcium channel, we examined responses of P. tetraurelia to the potent voltage-sensitive calcium channel agonist, deltamethrin. Pertussis toxin preincubation significantly reduced the toxic effects of deltamethrin exposure as determined by survival under depolarizing conditions and reduced the duration of backward swimming episodes in behavioral bioassays. Furthermore, non-hydrolyzable analogs of guanine nucleotides altered deltamethrin-stimulated calcium influx via calcium channels in isolated ciliary vesicles. Heterotrimeric G-protein subunits were subsequently detected in ciliary vesicles of P. tetraurelia by antibodies produced against Gα and Gβ subunits, and by 32P-ADP-ribosylation, indicating that proteins of the appropriate molecular weight are the target of pertussis toxin in these vesicles. These findings provide additional evidence that heterotrimeric G-proteins are associated with ciliary vesicles and that they play a role in the modulation of swimming behavior and the toxic action of deltamethrin in Paramecium.
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Vol. 50 • No. 5