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The determination of spatial pattern in Dictyostelium discoideum

Nanjundiah, Vidyanand and Saran, Shweta (1992) The determination of spatial pattern in Dictyostelium discoideum. In: Journal of Biosciences, 17 (4). pp. 353-394.

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Free-living amoebae of the cellular slime mould Dictyostelium discoideum aggregate when starved and give rise to a long and thin multicellular structure, the slug. The slug resembles a metazoan embryo, and as with other embryos it is possible to specify a fate map. In the case of Dictyostelium discoideum the map is especially simple: cells in the anterior fifth of the slug die and form a stalk while the majority of those in the posterior differentiate into spores. The genesis of this anterior-posterior distinction is the subject of our review. In particular, we ask: what are the relative roles of individual pre-aggregative predispositions and post-aggregative position in determining cell fate? We review the literature on the subject and conclude that both factors are important. Variations in nutritional status, or in cell cycle phase at starvation, can bias the probability that an amoeba differentiates into a stalk cell or a spore. On the other hand, isolates, or slug fragments, consisting of only prestalk cells or only prespore cells can regulate so as to result in a normal range of both cell types. We identify three levels of control, each being responsible for guiding patterning in normal development: (i) 'coin tossing', whereby a cell autonomously exhibits a preference for developing along either the stalk or the spore pathway with relative probabilities that can be influenced by the environment; (ii) 'chemical kinetics', whereby prestalk and prespore cells originate from undifferentiated amoebae on a probabilistic basis but, having originated, interact (e.g. via positive and negative feedbacks), and the interaction influences the possibility of conversion of one cell type into the other, and (iii) 'positional information', in which the spatial distribution of morphogens in the slug influences the pathway of differentiation. In the case of possibilities (i) and (ii), sorting out of like cell types leads to the final spatial pattern. In the case of possibility (iii), the pattern arises in situ.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Journal of Biosciences
Publisher: Indian Academy of Sciences
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Indian Academy of Sciences.
Keywords: Slime mould;Dictyostelium;development;pattern formation.
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Molecular Reproduction, Development & Genetics
Date Deposited: 30 May 2011 05:54
Last Modified: 30 May 2011 05:54
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/37765

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