Ionic basis of currents in somatic embryos of Daucus carota.
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A vibrating probe was used to measure extracellular electrical currents around developing somatic embryos in two lines (RCC27, RCC48) of cultured cells of Daucus carota L. at the heart and torpedo stages. At pH 5.5, an inward current of 1.20.1 Acm(-2) (n=23) was detected at the cotyledon, and an outward current of 1.00.1 Acm(-2) (n=22) was found at the radicle in torpedostage embryos from the RCC27 line. At a pH of 5.75 the currents increased by 0.2-0.3 Acm(-2) (n=60-62). In a few cases an additional small inward current was detected at the tip of the radicle in toepedo-stage embryos from RCC27 line. Such an inward current at the radicle seemed to appear earlier, some time after the heart stage, in embryos from the RCC48 line.Both extracellular pH measurements (using microelectrodes filled with ion-sensitive resin) and ion-substitution studies were carried out in order to ascertain the ionic composition of the currents in torpedo-stage embryos from the RCC27 line. Regions adjacent to the cotyledon and radicle, at the points of current entry and exit, were found to be more acidic by 0.020.01 (n=14) and 0.070.01 (n=12) pH units, respectively, than the bulk medium. Removal of K(+) from the medium reversibly reduced the currents to about 25% of their original value at both cotyledon and radicle. Deletion of Cl(-) decreased the currents slightly. Removal of Ca(2+) resulted in a rapid doubling of currents. Addition of either N,N'-dicyclohexylcarbodiimide or tetraethyl ammonium chloride substantially reduced overall currents, and their removal resulted in partial recovery of the currents. It is suggested that the inward current at the cotyledon is comprised largely of K(+) influx and the outward current at the radicle is mainly the result of active H(+) efflux.