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Dev Biol. 1986 Sep;117(1):267-76.

Intercellular signaling is required for developmental gene expression in Myxococcus xanthus.


Certain developmental mutants of Myxococcus xanthus can be complemented (extracellularly) by wild-type cells. Insertions of Tn5 lac (a transposon which couples beta-galactosidase expression to exogenous promoters) into developmentally regulated genes were used to investigate extracellular complementation of the A group mutations. A- mutations reduced developmental beta-galactosidase expression from 18 of 21 Tn5 lac insertions tested and that expression was restored to A- Tn5 lac cells by adding wild-type cells. The earliest A-dependent Tn5 lac normally expresses beta-galactosidase at 1.5 hr of development indicating a developmental block at 1-2 hr in A- mutants. A substance which can rescue the expression of this early Tn5 lac is released by wild-type (A+) but not by A- cells. This substance appears in a cell-free wash of wild-type cells or in starvation buffer conditioned by wild-type cells 1-2 hr after development is initiated. The conditioned starvation buffer also restores normal morphological development to an A- mutant.

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