Using the whole cell clamp technique, we have measured calcium-dependent currents and steady-state conductance in early sea urchin blastomeres. The calcium currents in M phase decreased from 8.5 microA/cm2 at the four-cell stage to 5.4 microA/cm2 at the eight-cell stage. In 16-cell stage embryos, calcium currents were 7.4 microA/cm2 in the mesomeres, 2.3 microA/cm2 in the macromeres, and were not detected in the micromeres. In contrast, the micromeres had a two- to threefold higher steady-state conductance than the mesomeres or macromeres, which may be due to potassium ion conductivity. Nifedipine, an L-type channel antagonist, delays cleavage division at a concentration of 0.05-0.1 mM and causes developmental defects, such as poor skeletal differentiation in later sea urchin embryos.
- Copyright © 1997 the American Physiological Society