Letter | Published:

Diffusible mating-type factors induce macrocyst development in Dictyostelium discoideum

Abstract

IN cellular slime moulds the formation of multicellular macrocysts constitutes an alternative pathway of development to that of fruiting bodies. In appropriate conditions macrocysts form in certain strains of Dictyostelium and Polysphondylium1. The existence of mating types in cellular slime moulds was suggested when certain combinations of amoebae of different strains resulted in macrocyst development2,3. Since the aggregation of cells which leads to fruiting body formation in D. discoideum is mediated by cyclic AMP5,6, we decided to investigate whether the interaction between mating types is also mediated by a small, diffusible molecule. Our results indicate that such a diffusible mating factor does indeed regulate macrocyst formation in D. discoideum.

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