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J Cell Sci. 2010 Nov 1;123(Pt 21):3756-67. doi: 10.1242/jcs.068619. Epub 2010 Oct 12.

Ca2+ chemotaxis in Dictyostelium discoideum.

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The W. M. Keck Dynamic Image Analysis Facility, Department of Biology, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


Using a newly developed microfluidic chamber, we have demonstrated in vitro that Ca(2+) functions as a chemoattractant of aggregation-competent Dictyostelium discoideum amoebae, that parallel spatial gradients of cAMP and Ca(2+) are more effective than either alone, and that cAMP functions as a stronger chemoattractant than Ca(2+). Effective Ca(2+) gradients are extremely steep compared with effective cAMP gradients. This presents a paradox because there is no indication to date that steep Ca(2+) gradients are generated in aggregation territories. However, given that Ca(2+) chemotaxis is co-acquired with cAMP chemotaxis during development, we speculate on the role that Ca(2+) chemotaxis might have and the possibility that steep, transient Ca(2+) gradients are generated during natural aggregation in the interstitial regions between cells.

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