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Development. 2004 Jun;131(11):2619-30. Epub 2004 May 5.

Tissue-specific G1-phase cell-cycle arrest prior to terminal differentiation in Dictyostelium.

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  • 1Verna and Marrs McLean Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


The cell cycle status of developing Dictyostelium cells remains unresolved because previous studies have led to conflicting interpretations. We propose a new model of cell cycle events during development. We observe mitosis of about 50% of the cells between 12 and 18 hours of development. Cellular DNA content profiles obtained by flow cytometry and quantification of extra-chromosomal and chromosomal DNA suggest that the daughter cells have half the chromosomal DNA of vegetative cells. Furthermore, little chromosomal DNA synthesis occurs during development, indicating that no S phase occurs. The DNA content in cells sorted by fluorescent tissue-specific reporters indicates that prespore cells divide before prestalk cells and later encapsulate as G1-arrested spores. Consistent with this, germinating spores have one copy of their chromosomes, as judged by fluorescence in situ hybridization and they replicate their chromosomes before mitosis of the emergent amoebae. The DNA content of mature stalk cells suggests that they also attain a G1 state prior to terminal differentiation. As prestalk cells appear to be in G2 up to 22 hours of development, our data suggest that they divide just prior to stalk formation. Our results suggest tissue-specific regulation of G1 phase cell cycle arrest prior to terminal differentiation in Dictyostelium.

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