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Title: High-resolution optical analyses of IP3-evoked Ca2+ signals
Author: Mataragka, Stefania
ISNI:       0000 0004 7660 8565
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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Ca2+ is a universal intracellular messenger that regulates many cellular responses. Most cells express inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptors (IP3R) that mediate Ca2+ release from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) when they bind IP3 produced after activation of cell-surface receptors. Vertebrate genomes encode three closely related subtypes of IP3R (IP3R1-3). High-resolution optical analyses have revealed a hierarchy of IP3-evoked Ca2+ signals that are thought to arise from the co-regulation of IP3Rs by IP3 and Ca2+. The smallest events ('blips') report the opening of single IP3Rs, Ca2+ 'puffs' report the almost simultaneous opening of a few clustered IP3Rs, and as stimulus intensities increase further Ca2+ signals propagate regeneratively as Ca2+ waves. The aim of this study was to establish whether all three IP3R subtypes can generate Ca2+ puffs. I first used a haploid cell line (HAP1 cells) to generate, using CRISPR/Cas9, a line lacking all endogenous IP3Rs. However, for analyses of Ca2+ puffs, I used HEK cells that had been engineered, using CRISPR/Cas9 to disrupt endogenous genes, to express single IP3R subtypes. Local Ca2+ signals evoked by flash-photolysis of caged- IP3 were recorded using Cal520 and total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy in human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells. The Flika algorithm was used, and validated, for automated detection of Ca2+ puffs and to measure their properties. IP3 evoked Ca2+ puffs in wild-type HEK cells and in cells expressing single IP3R subtypes. In wild-type cells, the Ca2+ signals invariably propagated regeneratively to give global increases in cytosolic [Ca2+]. This occurred less frequently in cells expressing single IP3R subtypes, commensurate with their lower overall levels of IP3R expression. The properties of the Ca2+ puffs, including their rise and decay times, durations, the size of the unitary fluorescence steps as channels closed channel during the falling phase, and the estimated number of active IP3Rs in each Ca2+ puff, were broadly similar in each of the four cell lines. The latter observation suggests that despite lower overall levels of IP3R expression (~30%) in cells with single subtypes relative to WT cells, there is a mechanism that ensures formation of similarly sized IP3R clusters. The only significant differences between cell lines were the slower kinetics of the Ca2+ puffs evoked by IP3R2, which may suggest dissociation of IP3 from its receptor contributes to the termination of Ca2+ puffs. My results demonstrate, for the first time, that all three IP3R subtypes can generate Ca2+ puffs. I conclude that Ca2+ puffs are fundamental building blocks of all IP3-evoked Ca2+ signals.
Supervisor: Taylor, Colin Sponsor: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Ca2+ ; calcium ; ER ; endoplasmic reticulum ; Inositiol trisphosphate receptor ; IP3 ; IP3R ; Ca2+ puff ; Total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy ; IP3R subtype