Two components of photoreceptor potential in phototaxis of the flagellated green alga Haematococcus pluvialis

Biophys J. 1990 Jan;57(1):33-9. doi: 10.1016/S0006-3495(90)82504-2.


The kinetics of the photoreceptor potential of phototaxis in biflagellated green alga Haematococcus pluvialis in response to a 10-ns laser pulse of three wavelengths (465, 550, and 590 nm) were measured in single cells with 30 mus time resolution. The rise and the decay of photoinduced potential are both at least biphasic. The first component of the rise is very stable and has no measurable (<30 mus) time delay. The second component is triggered after a 120-400-mus lag period, depending on flash intensity. Its appearance is sensitive to the physiological state of the cell and the amplitude can be increased by phototactically ineffective red background illumination. The electrical generators for both components are localized in the same region of the cell membrane (on the stigma-bearing side) and these components have the same depolarizing sign. The results indicate that the photoreceptor potential in phototaxis comprises two components, which could be interpreted as light-induced charge movement within the photoreceptor molecules and changes in ion permeability of the cell membrane.