Send to

Choose Destination
Nature. 2005 Jan 20;433(7023):323-6.

An autoregulatory circuit for long-range self-organization in Dictyostelium cell populations.

Author information

Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544, USA.


Nutrient-deprived Dictyostelium amoebae aggregate to form a multicellular structure by chemotaxis, moving towards propagating waves of cyclic AMP that are relayed from cell to cell. Organizing centres are not formed by founder cells, but are dynamic entities consisting of cores of outwardly rotating spiral waves that self-organize in a homogeneous cell population. Spiral waves are ubiquitously observed in chemical reactions as well as in biological systems. Although feedback control of spiral waves in spatially extended chemical reactions has been demonstrated in recent years, the mechanism by which control is achieved in living systems is unknown. Here we show that mutants of the cyclic AMP/protein kinase A pathway show periodic signalling, but fail to organize coherent long-range wave territories, owing to the appearance of numerous spiral cores. A theoretical model suggests that autoregulation of cell excitability mediated by protein kinase A acts to optimize the number of signalling centres.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center