Development of the dictyostelid Polysphondylium violaceum does not require secreted cAMP

Yoshinori Kawabe, Pauline Schaap (Lead / Corresponding author)

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    Group 4 Dictyostelia, like D. discoideum, self-organize into aggregates and fruiting bodies using propagating waves of the chemoattractant cAMP, which are produced by a network containing the adenylate cyclase AcaA, cAMP receptors (Cars) and the extracellular cAMP phosphodiesterase PdsA. Additionally, AcaA and the adenylate cyclases AcrA and AcgA produce secreted cAMP for induction of aggregative and prespore gene expression and intracellular cAMP for PKA activation, with PKA triggering initiation of development and spore and stalk maturation. Non-group 4 species also use secreted cAMP to coordinate postagggregative morphogenesis and prespore induction, but use other attractants to aggregate. To understand how cAMP's role in aggregation evolved, we deleted the acaA, carA and pdsA genes of Polysphondylium violaceum, a sister species to group 4. acaAˉ fruiting bodies had thinner stalks but otherwise developed normally. Deletion of acrA, which was similarly expressed as acaA, reduced aggregation centre initiation and, as also occurred after D. discoideum acrA deletion, caused spore instability. Double acaAˉacrAˉ mutants failed to form stable aggregates, a defect that was overcome by exposure to the PKA agonist 8Br-cAMP, and therefore likely due to reduced intracellular cAMP. The carAˉ and pdsAˉ mutants showed normal aggregation and fruiting body development. Together, the data showed that P. violaceum development does not critically require secreted cAMP, while roles of intracellular cAMP in initiation of development and spore maturation are conserved. Apparently, cell-cell communication underwent major taxon-group specific innovation in Dictyostelia
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberbio059728
    Number of pages8
    JournalBiology Open
    Issue number2
    Early online date2 Feb 2023
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


    • evolution of cell-cell communication
    • clade-specific invention
    • cell-type specialization
    • cAMP oscillations
    • morphogenetic movement
    • chemotaxis


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