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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Feb 29;97(5):2391-6.

The cellulose synthase gene of Dictyostelium.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409, USA.


Cellulose is a major component of the extracellular matrices formed during development of the social amoeba, Dictyostelium discoideum. We isolated insertional mutants that failed to accumulate cellulose and had no cellulose synthase activity at any stage of development. Development proceeded normally in the null mutants up to the beginning of stalk formation, at which point the culminating structures collapsed onto themselves, then proceeded to attempt culmination again. No spores or stalk cells were ever made in the mutants, with all cells eventually lysing. The predicted product of the disrupted gene (dcsA) showed significant similarity to the catalytic subunit of cellulose synthases found in bacteria. Enzyme activity and normal development were recovered in strains transformed with a construct expressing the intact dcsA gene. Growing amoebae carrying the construct accumulated the protein product of dcsA, but did not make cellulose until they had developed for at least 10 hr. These studies show directly that the product of dcsA is necessary, but not sufficient, for synthesis of cellulose.

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