Visualizing PI3 kinase-mediated cell-cell signaling during Dictyostelium development

Dirk Dormann, Gerti Weijer, Carole A. Parent, Peter N. Devreotes, Cornelis J. Weijer

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    67 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Starving amoebae of Dictyostelium discoideum communicate by relaying extracellular cAMP signals, which direct chemotactic movement, resulting in the aggregation of thousands of cells into multicellular aggregates. Both cAMP relay and chemotaxis require the activation of PI3 kinase signaling. The spatiotemporal dynamics of PI3 kinase signaling can be followed in individual cells via the cAMP-induced membrane recruitment of a GFP-tagged PH domain-containing protein, CRAC, which is required for the activation of adenylylcyclase. Results: We show that polarized periodic CRAC-GFP translocation occurs during the aggregation and mound stages of development in response to periodic cAMP signals. The duration of CRAC translocation to the membrane is determined by the duration of the rising phase of the cAMP signal. The system shows rapid adaptation and responds to the rate of change of the extracellular cAMP concentration. When the cells are in close contact, it takes 10 s for the signal to propagate from one cell to the next. In slugs, all cells show a permanent polarized PI3 kinase signaling in their leading edge, which is dependent on cell-cell contact. Conclusions: Measuring the redistribution of GFP-tagged CRAC has enabled us to study the dynamics of PI3 kinase-mediated cell-cell communication at the individual cell level in the multicellular stages of Dictyostelium development. This approach should also be useful to study the interactions between cell-cell signaling, cell polarization, and movement in the development of other organisms.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1178-1188
    Number of pages11
    JournalCurrent Biology
    Issue number14
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


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