Diffusible signal molecules controlling cell differentiation and patterning in Dictyostelium

Berks, M., Traynor, D., Carrin, I., Insall, R. H. and Kay, R. R. (1991) Diffusible signal molecules controlling cell differentiation and patterning in Dictyostelium. Development, 113(S1), pp. 131-139. (PMID:1660326)

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Slime moulds, such as Dictyostelium discoideum, have biochemical, physiological and probably developmental features in common with both plants and animals. During development separate Dictyostelium amoebae first aggregate into collecting centers to form small multicellular organisms which, in their slug form, can migrate over the substratum toward light. Eventually a slug culminates to form a fruiting body consisting of a cellular stalk supporting a mass of spores. Development is highly regulative, indicating that it is controlled by signalling between the cells. A number of diffusible signal molecules have been discovered, including cyclic AMP, the chemoattractant in aggregation, and DIF-1, a novel chlorinated phenyl alkanone, which acts as a specific inducer of stalk cell differentiation. The migrating slug contains three types of precursor cell: prespore, prestalk A and prestalk B cells. Differentiation of these cells from uncommitted amoebae can be brought about in cell cultures by cyclic AMP and DIF-1 acting in combination: cyclic AMP alone favours prespore, DIF-1 alone favours prestalk B, cyclic AMP and DIF-1 together favour prestalk A cell differentiation. There is evidence suggesting that these signals act in the same way in the intact aggregate. A cytoplasmic DIF-1 binding protein has been discovered, whose level increases as cells become sensitive to DIF-1 and which binds DIF-1 with an affinity and specificity suggestive of a receptor. At the same time, cells are able to inactivate DIF-1 by a metabolic pathway involving at least 12 metabolites. Metabolism may also serve to produce gradients of DIF-1 in the aggregate or other signal molecules from DIF-1. Manipulation of the DIF-1 signalling system will be an important means of further elucidating its role in development.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Insall, Professor Robert
Authors: Berks, M., Traynor, D., Carrin, I., Insall, R. H., and Kay, R. R.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Cancer Sciences
Journal Name:Development
Publisher:Company of Biologists
ISSN (Online):1477-9129

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