Gene regulation during dedifferentiation in Dictyostelium discoideum

Robert Finney, Michael Ellis, Carol Langtimm, Elliot Rosen, Richard Firtel, David R. Soll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


During development of Dictyostelium discoideum, cells acquire the capacity to rapidly recapitulate morphogenesis. Therefore, when cells at the loose aggregate stage are disaggregated and challenged to reaggregate, they do so in a tenth of the original time. If loose aggregate cells are disaggregated and resuspended in buffered dextrose solution (erasure medium), they retain the capacity of rapid recapitulation for 80 min, then completely lose this capacity in a single, synchronous step referred to as the "erasure event." The erasure event sets in motion a program of dedifferentiation during which cells lose developmentally acquired characteristics at different times. The erasure event is inhibited by the addition of 10-4M cAMP to erasure medium. The synthesis of 33 growth-associated polypeptides, the synthesis of 53 development-associated polypeptides, and the level of 2 development-associated RNAs have been monitored during the erasure program and in cultures inhibited from erasing by the addition of 10-4M cAMP. Growth-associated polypeptides begin to be resynthesized and development-associated polypeptides exhibit dramatic decreases in rate of synthesis at different times throughout the first 240 min in erasure medium. Inhibiting the erasure event with cAMP has no major effect in the resynthesis of the majority of growth-associated polypeptides. Only one growth-associated polypeptide, V28, is completely inhibited by cAMP, suggesting that it may play a role in the erasure process. In contrast, inhibiting the erasure event with cAMP has a marked effect on the synthesis of development-associated polypeptides, causing a dramatic reduction in the rate at which synthesis decreases for 6 polypeptides, and completely inhibits the decrease in the synthetic rate of 8 polypeptides. The two development-associated RNAs, 16G1 and 10C3, exhibit two distinctly different patterns of loss during erasure, but in both cases cAMP added at time zero of the erasure process dramatically retards or inhibits loss. In addition, when cAMP is added just prior to the erasure event, it inhibits the erasure event and stimulates a rapid increase in the level of 16G1 RNA back to the developmental level. The level of 16G1 RNA then remains at this level for at least 400 min. When cAMP is added after the erasure event, it causes a low, transient increase in the level of 16G1 RNA. These results are considered both in relation to the program of erasure, and in relation to the role of cAMP in the expression of developmental genes during the forward program of development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)561-576
Number of pages16
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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