Science and Mathematics Faculty Publications

Chemosensory Adaptation to Lysozyme and GTP Involves Independently Regulated Receptors in Tetrahymena thermophila

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Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology





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Chemosensory adaptation is seen in Tetrahymena thermophila following prolonged exposure (ten minutes) to micromolar concentrations of the chemorepellents lysozyme or guanosine triphosphate (GTP). Since these cells initially show repeated backward swimming episodes (avoidance reactions) in these repellents, behavioral adaptation is seen as a decrease in this repellent-induced behavior. The time course of this behavioral adaptation is paralleled by decreases in the extents of surface binding of either [32P]GTP or [3H]lysozyme in vivo. Scatchard plot analyses of repellent binding in adapted cells suggests the behavioral adaptation is due to a dramatic decrease in the number of surface binding sites, as represented by decreased Bmax values. The estimated KD values for nonadapted cells are 6.6 μM and 8.4 μM for lysozyme and GTP binding, respectively. Behavioral adaptation and decreased surface receptor binding are specific for each repellent. The GTP adapted cells (20 μM for ten minutes) still respond behaviorally to 50 μM lysozyme and bind [3H]lysozyme normally. Lysozyme adapted cells (50 μM for ten minutes) still bind [32P]GTP and respond behaviorally to GTP. All the behavioral and binding changes seen are also reversible (deadaptation). Neomycin was shown to be a competitive inhibitor of [3H]lysozyme binding and lysozyme-induced avoidance reactions, but it had no effect on either [32P]GTP binding or GTP-induced or avoidance reactions. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that there are two separate repellent receptors, one for GTP and the other for lysozyme, that are independently downregulated during adaptation to cause specific receptor desensitization and consequent behavioral adaptation.


Chemorepellent; purinoceptor; sensory adaption; signal transduction