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Development. 2006 May;133(9):1715-24. Epub 2006 Mar 29.

Regulation of Dictyostelium prestalk-specific gene expression by a SHAQKY family MYB transcription factor.

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  • 1University of Dundee, MSI/WTB Complex, Dow Street, Dundee DD1 5EH, UK.


PstA and pstO cells are the two major populations in the prestalk region of the Dictyostelium slug and DIF-1 is a low molecular weight signalling molecule that selectively induces pstO cell-specific gene expression. The two cell types are defined by their differential use of spatially separated regions of the ecmA promoter. Additionally, there are anterior-like cells (ALCs) scattered throughout the rear, prespore region of the slug. They, like the pstO cells, use a cap-site distal ecmA promoter segment termed the ecmO region. When multimerised, a 22-nucleotide subsegment of the ecmO region directs expression in pstA cells, pstO cells and ALCs. It also directs DIF-inducible gene expression. The 22-nucleotide region was used to purify MybE, a protein with a single MYB DNA-binding domain of a type previously found only in a large family of plant transcription factors. Slugs of a mybE-null (mybE-) strain express an ecmAO:lacZ fusion gene (i.e. a reporter construct containing the ecmA and ecmO promoter regions) in pstA cells but there is little or no expression in pstO cells and ALCs. The ecmA gene is not induced by DIF-1 in a mybE-strain. Thus, MybE is necessary for DIF-1 responsiveness and for the correct differentiation of pstO cells and ALCs.

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