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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences

First Advisor

David Thomas

First Committee Member

Roshanak Rahimiam

Second Committee Member

James Uchizono


The versatility of Ca2+ as a messenger regulating a myriad of signalling events requires that the concentration of Ca2+ ions in the cytoplasm be highly regulated. Capacitative Ca2+ entry (CCE) or store-operated Ca2+ (SOC) entry, whereby the depletion of intracellular Ca2+ stores induces the influx of Ca2+ across the plasma membrane, plays a crucial role in Ca2+ signalling. Despite the recent advances in elucidating the entry pathway, its molecular identity, biophysical properties and store-depletion signal remains undefined. Thapsigargin (TG), a sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ A TPase pump (SERCA), inhibitor induces passive depletion of the internal Ca2+ stores and triggers CCE. The universality of this signal has been widely accepted and TG has proven to be a valuable tool in studying CCE. The neuronal cell line NG 115 -401 L lacks the TG activated Ca2+ influx pathway. Agonists of the ryanodine receptor (RyR); chlorom- cresol (CMC), polychlorinated biphenyl 95 (PCB), ryanodine, caffeine, and that of the inositol-1 ,4 ,5-trisphosphate receptor (IP3R), bradykinin, effectively couple to the activation of Ca2+ influx in these cells. The Ca2+ influx signal due to these agonists can be inhibited by SOC blockers such as La3+, Zn2+, Ni2+ and SF&F 96365. Thapsigargin, CMC and PCB95 share the same Ca2+ releasable pools in the 401 L cells. Our data thus suggests that the channels present in the 401 L cells are likely to be receptor-activated channels rather than the store-depletion activated channels. Cell viability studies show that thapsigargin (25 nM) can decrease viability by 75% within 24 hrs and the RyR agonist caffeine decreased viability to <60% within 24hrs. CMC, PCB95 and ryanodine also were cytotoxic at higher doses. Nuclear fragmentation patterns and activation of caspase-3 in thapsigargin and caffeine-treated cells suggest the induction of apoptosis within 12 hrs of treatment. The treated cells were shown to generate nitric oxide, a potential apoptosis inducing agent.



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