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Equivalence of intracellular pH of differentiating Dictyostelium cell types

Naturevolume 321pages180182 (1986) | Download Citation



During the development of the cellular slime moulds, spore and stalk cells arise from vegetative amoebae. The intracellular pH (pHi) of the developing cells has been postulated to be important in the choice of morphogenetic programmes1. This hypothesis stems from the observation that the addition to the culture medium of weak (membrane-permeable) acids or bases favours the differentiation of pre-stalk or pre-spore cells respectively1–3. Similarly, compounds that are known to inhibit a Dictyostelium plasma membrane proton pump induce preferential pre-stalk development1,4,5; and a stalk-specific Dictyostelium morphogen, ‘DIF’, has been suggested to act via intracellular acidification6,7. However, in these studies the pHi values of pre-spore and pre-stalk amoebae were unknown, and the actual effects of the various agents mentioned above on pHi were also unknown. By monitoring the intracellular fluorescence of a pH-sensitive dye, I have measured the relative intracellular pH of pre-spore compared with pre-stalk amoebae. I report here that, contrary to the above hypothesis, there is no significant difference in the pHi of the two cell types.

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  1. Department of Biology, Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts, 01002, USA

    • David I. Ratner


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