Ca2+responses to two chemoattractants, folate and cyclic AMP (cAMP), were assayed in
Dictyostelium D. discoideummutants deficient in one or both of two abundant Ca2+-binding proteins of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), calreticulin and calnexin. Mutants deficient in either or both proteins exhibited enhanced cytosolic Ca2+responses to both attractants. Not only were the mutant responses greater in amplitude, but they also exhibited earlier onsets, faster rise rates, earlier peaks, and faster fall rates. Correlations among these kinetic parameters and the response amplitudes suggested that key events in the Ca2+response are autoregulated by the magnitude of the response itself, i.e., by cytosolic Ca2+levels. This autoregulation was sufficient to explain the altered kinetics of the mutant responses: larger responses are faster in both mutant and wild-type cells in response to both folate (vegetative cells) and cAMP (differentiated cells). Searches of the predicted D. discoideumproteome revealed three putative Ca2+pumps and four putative Ca2+channels. All but one contained sequence motifs for Ca2+- or calmodulin-binding sites, consistent with Ca2+signals being autoregulatory. Although cytosolic Ca2+responses in the calnexin and calreticulin mutants are enhanced, the influx of Ca2+from the extracellular medium into the mutant cells was smaller. Compared to wild-type cells, Ca2+release from the ER in the mutants thus contributes more to the total cytosolic Ca2+response while influx from the extracellular medium contributes less. These results provide the first molecular genetic evidence that release of Ca2+from the ER contributes to cytosolic Ca2+responses in D. discoideum.