Section 36
Chapter 35,133

Influence of calcium on Manduca sexta plasmatocyte spreading and network formation

Willott, E.; Hallberg, C.A.; Tran, H.Q.

Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology 49(4): 187-202


ISSN/ISBN: 0739-4462
PMID: 11921077
DOI: 10.1002/arch.10019
Accession: 035132163

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Plasmatocytes are a class of insect hemocytes important in the cellular defense response. In some species, they are phagocytic, protecting the insect from smaller pathogens. In many insects, they work in concert with other hemocytes (particularly other plasmatocytes and granular cells) to form nodules and to encapsulate foreign material. To perform these functions, plasmatocytes attach to, spread on, and surround suitable targets. Because of their importance, because we had previously observed that prolonged incubation of hemocytes in solutions containing the divalent cation chelator ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) inhibited plasmatocyte spreading, and because of the importance of divalent cations in many immune-related functions, we investigated the effect of calcium and magnesium on spreading of plasmatocytes from fifth instar Manduca sexta larvae. On glass slides, plasmatocytes spread more quickly and elongated in Grace's medium containing 5 mM calcium, compared to calcium-free medium. In the presence of calcium, plasmatocyte adhesion, spreading, and network formation were not visibly different in magnesium-free and magnesium-containing Grace's medium. Using immunomicroscopy with a monoclonal antibody specific for plasmatocytes, we measured the length and width of plasmatocytes incubated with several different concentrations of calcium. Plasmatocyte length positively correlated with calcium concentration to 5 mM (maximum concentration tested and approximately the hemolymph concentration). Mean plasmatocyte width was less in 0 and 5 mM calcium than in 0.05 or 0.5 mM calcium. On plastic, hemocytes survived longer than on glass (they survived beyond 24 h) and, in 5 mM calcium, formed an extensive network readily visible by phase-contrast microscopy. This network was never as extensive in the absence of calcium. Network formation in the absence of magnesium, but presence of calcium, resembled network formation in standard Grace's medium.

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