Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Cell Biology and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

cAMP controls cytosolic Ca2+ levels in Dictyostelium discoideum

Daniel F Lusche, Karen Bezares-Roder, Kathrin Happle and Christina Schlatterer*

Author Affiliations

Faculty for Biology, University of Konstanz, 78457 Konstanz, Germany

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Cell Biology 2005, 6:12  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-6-12

Published: 7 March 2005



Differentiating Dictyostelium discoideum amoebae respond upon cAMP-stimulation with an increase in the cytosolic free Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) that is composed of liberation of stored Ca2+ and extracellular Ca2+-influx. In this study we investigated whether intracellular cAMP is involved in the control of [Ca2+]i.


We analyzed Ca2+-fluxes in a mutant that is devoid of the main cAMP-phosphodiesterase (PDE) RegA and displays an altered cAMP metabolism. In suspensions of developing cells cAMP-activated influx of extracellular Ca2+ was reduced as compared to wild type. Yet, single cell [Ca2+]i-imaging of regA- amoebae revealed a cAMP-induced [Ca2+]i increase even in the absence of extracellular Ca2+. The cytosolic presence of the cAMP PDE inhibitor 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine (IBMX) induced elevated basal [Ca2+]i in both, mutant and wild type cells. Under this condition wild type cells displayed cAMP-activated [Ca2+]i-transients also in nominally Ca2+-free medium. In the mutant strain the amplitude of light scattering oscillations and of accompanying cAMP oscillations were strongly reduced to almost basal levels. In addition, chemotactic performance during challenge with a cAMP-filled glass capillary was altered by EGTA-incubation. Cells were more sensitive to EGTA treatment than wild type: already at 2 mM EGTA only small pseudopods were extended and chemotactic speed was reduced.


We conclude that there is a link between the second messengers cAMP and Ca2+. cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) could provide for this link as a membrane-permeable PKA-activator also increased basal [Ca2+]i of regA- cells. Intracellular cAMP levels control [Ca2+]i by regulating Ca2+-fluxes of stores which in turn affect Ca2+-influx, light scattering oscillations and chemotactic performance.