We have characterized the sarcoplasmic-endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase (SERCA) pumps in cultured rat cortical type-1 astrocytes, type-2 astrocytes and oligodendrocytes. Perfusion with 10 μM cyclopiazonic acid (CPA) or 1 μM thapsigargin evoked a large and persistent elevation in cytosolic [Ca2+] in normal Ca2+-containing medium and a small and transient increase in nominally Ca2+-free medium. Subtraction of the response in Ca2+-free medium from that in the control revealed a slow-onset Ca2+-entry response to SERCA inhibition, which began after most of the store depletion had occurred. Thapsigargin- and CPA-induced responses propagated as Ca2+ waves, which began in several distinct cellular sites and travelled throughout the cell and through nearby cells, in confluent cultures. Propagation was supported by specialized Ca2+-release sites where the amplitude of the response was significantly higher and the rate of rise steeper. Such higher Ca2+-release kinetics were observed at these sites during Ins(1,4,5)P3-mediated Ca2+ waves in the same cells. Fluorescently tagged thapsigargin labelled SERCA pumps throughout glial cell bodies and processes. In oligodendrocyte processes, multiple domains with elevated SERCA staining were always associated with mitochondria. Our results are consistent with a model in which only a single Ca2+ store, expressing Ins(1,4,5)P3 receptors and SERCAs sensitive to both thapsigargin and CPA, is present in rat cortical glia, and indicate that inhibition of SERCA activates both Ca2+ release as a wavefront and Ca2+ entry via store-operated channels. The spatial relationship between SERCAs and mitochondria is likely to be important for regulating microdomains of elevated Ca2+-release kinetics.
- The Biochemical Society, London © 1997