25 A Eukaryotic Neighbor:

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The cells that become stalk cells sacrifice themselves and die to help the spore cells get dispersed, and studies of how different strains either cooperate or cheat to become spore cells is helping to open this field. There are several human diseases or therapies for diseases that can be usefully studied using the simplicity of to uncover molecular mechanisms. The cells accomplish this by secreting a glycoprotein called prestarvation factor (PSF). Insight into how such a quorum-sensing mechanism functions was gained when it was observed that cells starved at low cell densities differentiate only in buffer previously conditioned by a high density of starved cells. The cell-autonomous musical chairs cell-type choice mechanism causes prespore and prestalk cells to appear at random places within the mound. To maintain the proper ration of prestalk to prespore cells, prespore cells convert to anterior-like cells (ALC), which convert to PstO and then PstA cells. Differentiation-inducing factor (DIF)-1 induces the expression of prestalk genes and represses the expression of prespore genes. In addition to being an excellent organism to study chemotaxis, development, and differentiation, is also used to understand the molecular basis of disease. One of the diseases under investigation is Legionnaires’ disease, which is caused by an infection by bacteria. In humans, inhaled is phagocytosed by macrophages present in the lungs. uses both G-protein-coupled receptors and two-component receptors, while myxobacteria use two-component systems.

Citation: Brazill D, Gomer R. 2008. 25 A Eukaryotic Neighbor: , p 439-452. In Whitworth D (ed), Myxobacteria. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815677.ch25

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Dictyostelium discoideum
Phospholipase C
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Figure 1

The life cycle. Single-celled amoebae feed on soil bacteria. When the food source is exhausted and the cells begin to starve, they initiate cAMP signaling, leading to aggregation and mound formation. Precursors of the two main cell types begin to differentiate in the mound, forming prestalk cells (black) and prespore cells (spotted). The mound follows a predefined morphogenic program, producing a multicellular slug which migrates in response to light and heat. The program continues leading to culmination of the slug into a mature fruiting body consisting of a stalk (black) and a spore mass (spotted). Spores are released and when food is present, germinate into vegetative amoebae.

Citation: Brazill D, Gomer R. 2008. 25 A Eukaryotic Neighbor: , p 439-452. In Whitworth D (ed), Myxobacteria. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815677.ch25
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Figure 2

Initial cell type choice is dependent on the cell cycle phase at starvation. Prestalk cells, cells with a predisposition to become stalk cells, are derived from cells that were in S phase and early G phase at the time of starvation. Prespore cells, cells with a predisposition to become spore cells, are derived from cells that were in late G or M phase at the time of starvation. Like some fungi, has a very small G phase.

Citation: Brazill D, Gomer R. 2008. 25 A Eukaryotic Neighbor: , p 439-452. In Whitworth D (ed), Myxobacteria. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815677.ch25
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Figure 3

cAMP signaling during chemotaxis. cAMP secreted from starving cells binds to and activates the cAMP receptor. The receptor in turn activates its associated G protein, Gα2βγ, by catalyzing the exchange of GTP for GDP. The G protein separates, and the βγ subunit, along with CRAC (cytosolic regulator of adenylyl cyclase) activates adenylyl cyclase. This leads to the secretion of cAMP and thus the relay of the aggregation signal to other cells. The activation of the G protein also leads to the initiation of chemotaxis towards the source of cAMP and thus movement towards the center of aggregation.

Citation: Brazill D, Gomer R. 2008. 25 A Eukaryotic Neighbor: , p 439-452. In Whitworth D (ed), Myxobacteria. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815677.ch25
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Figure 4

Fruiting body size regulation. Panels A and B show a field of aggregating cells at approximately 7 h (A) and 8 h (B) after starvation. The cells were at a high density, and as a consequence the streams broke into groups. Panel C shows a computer simulation of the breakup. If the cells in a stream have a high cell-cell adhesion (and/or a low random cell motility), the stream will tighten (downward arrow). If the cells in a stream have a low cell-cell adhesion (and/or a high random cell motility), the stream will dissipate and breaks will form in the stream (right arrow). The cells in the break regions chemotax towards the cells in the nearby groups, further accentuating the breaks. If cell-cell adhesion then increases (and/or random cell motility decreases), the groups coalesce. uses a secreted factor to modulate adhesion and motility and thus the extent of stream breakup and group size. Bar (panel B), 1 mm.

Citation: Brazill D, Gomer R. 2008. 25 A Eukaryotic Neighbor: , p 439-452. In Whitworth D (ed), Myxobacteria. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815677.ch25
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