Summary of Session and Discussion on Electrical Excitability

  • Bertil Hille
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 188)


The papers of the day showed that modern protists have many of the features needed for making neurons. In particular, they have a wide variety of voltage-gated Ca++ and K+ channels that are functionally very similar to those of neurons and they have several kinds of mechanoreceptive channels. Protists respond sensitively to chemicals and to touch. They can conduct Ca++ spikes and coordinate motor outputs with the underlying Ca++ fluxes. Actinocoryne makes a Na+/Ca++ spike. They have receptors coupled to GTP-binding proteins. However, no channel that gates open within milliseconds of binding a ligand (such as is found in fast chemical synapses) has been reported in protists.


High Animal Synaptic Delay Electrical Synapse Electrical Excitability Glial Cell Type 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bertil Hille
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of PhysiologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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