Letter | Published:

Sporulation-inducing factor in slime mould Physarum polycephalum

Naturevolume 256pages413414 (1975) | Download Citation



THE highly synchronous sporulation of Physarum polycephalum is an attractive model of cell differentiation. Virtually all of the nuclei in a starved plasmodium proceed in step through the sporulation process in response to a well defined stimulus, light1–4. The regulatory mechanisms of this differentiation are unknown but several studies have been presented on the conditions necessary for sporulation. These have been reviewed by Sauer5, who concludes that two elements are necessary for sporulation, substrate and light. These must be applied sequentially. The substrate requirement is for starvation in the dark for at least 4 d in the presence of niacin and niacinamide4. The light requirement is for at least 4 h illumination by a 40 W fluorescent light. Sauer also cites unpublished results which suggest that the effect of illumination is a local one which cannot be transferred to an unilluminated, starved plasmodium or even from the illuminated half to the unilluminated half of the same plasmodium.

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  1. 1

    Daniel, J. W., Cell Synchrony (edit. by Cameron, I. L., and Padilla, G. M.), 117–152 (Academic, New York, 1966).

  2. 2

    Gray, W. D., Am. J. Bot., 25, 511–522 (1938).

  3. 3

    Daniel, J. W., and Rusch, H. P., Fedn Proc., 17, 434 (1958).

  4. 4

    Daniel, J. W., and Baldwin, H. H., Meth. Cell Physiol., 1, 9–41 (1964).

  5. 5

    Sauer, H. W., Microb. Different., 23, 380–700 (1973).

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  1. Department of Biochemistry, McCollum Laboratories, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, 66044

    • , CHONG G. CHO


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