Local cytoplasmic calcium gradients in living mitotic cells
Cytoplasmic free calcium has been proposed as a regulator of many microtubule-mediated processes, including mitosis. It has been difficult to test this hypothesis because methods for local measurement of free Ca2+ in the living cell have not been available. We have used the fluorescent calcium indicator dye Quin-2 (methoxyquinoline-1bis(o-aminophenoxy)ethane-N,N,N',N' -tetra acetic acid), which allows such observations to be made by digital processing of fluorescent images from the light microscope. Here we report the application of this technique to the study of local Ca2+ concentrations in mitotic endosperm cells of Haemanthus sp., and show that there is transient increase in free Ca2+ at the mitotic spindle poles during anaphase. This locally high Ca2+ may provide a mechanism for the regional control of microtubules and other cytoskeletal elements during anaphase.