Intracellular Ca2+ concentration was measured in single Cf1 cells (Choristoneura fumiferana, spruce budworm) loaded with Fura-2, a Ca2+-sensitive fluorescent probe. Cf1 cells displayed Ca2+ surges in response to Cry1Ac and Cry1C proteins, two Cf1-toxic Bacillus thuringiensis products, but not to Cry1Aa and Cry3A, which are not toxic to Cf1 cells. In the presence of extracellular Ca2+, the toxin-induced Ca2+ response was insensitive to methoxyverapamil, a voltage-dependent Ca2+ channel blocker, but was abolished by lanthanum, a general inhibitor of Ca2+ transport. In the absence of external Ca2+, Cry1Ac induced a small intracellular Ca2+ transient which was inhibited by TMB-8, a blocker of Ca2+ release from inositol-1,4,5-trisphosphate-sensitive pools. Under these conditions, thapsigargin, which inhibits intracellular Ca2+-ATPases, elicited a Ca2+ surge when applied alone. However, subsequent addition of Cry1Ac failed to induce a Ca2+ signal, indicating a depletion of intracellular Ca2+ pools. In Cf1 cells, therefore, bioactive B. thuringiensis toxins triggered intracellular Ca2+ surges which were mainly due to the influx of extracellular Ca2+ through toxin-made pores, as confirmed by planar lipid bilayer experiments. Furthermore, TMB-8- and thapsigargin-sensitive Ca2+ stores contributed to the Cry1Ac-induced Ca2+ signal.

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