Fast calcium wave inhibits excessive apoptosis during epithelial wound healing
Modifications in the cell membrane potential have been suggested to affect signaling mechanisms participating in diverse cellular processes, many of which involve structural cellular alterations. In order to contribute some evidence in this respect, we explored the effects of several depolarizing procedures on the structure and monolayer organization of bovine corneal endothelial cells in culture. Visually confluent cell monolayers were incubated with or without the depolarizing agent, either in a saline solution or in culture medium for up to 30 min. Membrane potential was monitored by fluorescence microscopy using oxonol V. Fluorescent probes were employed for F-actin, microtubules, and vinculin. Depolarization of the plasma membrane, achieved via the incorporation of gramicidin D into confluent endothelial cells or by modifications of the extracellular saline composition, provoked an increment of oxonol fluorescence and changes in cell morphology, consisting mainly of modifications in the cytoskeletal organization. In some areas, noticeable intercellular spaces appear. The cytoskeleton modifications mainly consist of a marked redistribution of F-actin and microtubules, with accompanying changes in vinculin localization. The results suggest that the depolarization of the plasma membrane potential may participate in mechanisms involved in cytoskeleton organization and monolayer continuity in corneal endothelial cells in culture.