The sudden cessation or sudden decrease in velocity of the protoplasmic streaming of Nitella flexilis is observed whenever an action potential is elicited. The action potential can be generated by an electric stimulus after its refractory period, whether the flow is at a complete standstill or on the way to recovery. The membrane potential is generally decreased more or less when the rate of flow is decreased on application of salts or other agents. There is, however, no parallelism between these two. The membrane potential decreases proportionally with applied voltage of subthreshold intensity, while the rate of flow does not change appreciably. Only on application of a superthreshold voltage does the flow stop suddenly. In one case the rate of flow decreased to half without appreciable decrease in membrane potential. In another case it continued flowing at about one-half rate, although the membrane potential was almost zero. The Q10 of the rate of flow is about 2, while it is 1.1 to 1.5 for the membrane potential.
The sudden cessation of the protoplasmic streaming is supposed to be caused by the temporary formation of certain interlinkages among contractile protein networks in the endoplasm during excitation at the cathodal half of Nitella.