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Dev Biol. 2006 Feb 15;290(2):460-9. Epub 2006 Jan 4.

Transcriptional regulation of post-aggregation genes in Dictyostelium by a feed-forward loop involving GBF and LagC.

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  • 1Cell and Developmental Biology, Division of Biological Sciences, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.


Expression profiles of developmental genes in Dictyostelium were determined on microarrays during development of wild type cells and mutant cells lacking either the DNA binding protein GBF or the signaling protein LagC. We found that the mutant strains developed in suspension with added cAMP expressed the pulse-induced and early adenylyl cyclase (ACA)-dependent genes, but not the later ACA-dependent, post-aggregation genes. Since expression of lagC itself is dependent on GBF, expression of the post-aggregation genes might be controlled only by signaling from LagC. However, expression of lagC in a GBF-independent manner in a gbfA- null strain did not result in expression of the post-aggregation genes. Since GBF is necessary for accumulation of LagC and both the DNA binding protein and the LagC signal transduction pathway are necessary for expression of post-aggregation genes, GBF and LagC form a feed-forward loop. Such network architecture is a common motif in diverse organisms and can act as a filter for noisy inputs. Breaking the feed-forward loop by expressing lagC in a GBF-independent manner in a gbfA+ strain does not significantly affect the patterns of gene expression for cells developed in suspension with added cAMP, but results in a significant delay at the mound stage and asynchronous development on solid supports. This feed-forward loop can integrate temporal information with morphological signals to ensure that post-aggregation genes are only expressed after cell contacts have been made.

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