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Dev Genet. 1988;9(4-5):315-26.

Analysis of the prestarvation response in growing cells of Dictyostelium discoideum.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York.


We have previously shown that growing cells of Dictyostelium discoideum (strains NC4 and AX3) produce a soluble substance that accumulates in the medium in proportion to cell density; this substance regulates the production of certain proteins previously thought to be induced by starvation [Clarke et al., 1987]. We suggest the name PSF (prestarvation factor) for this substance. During growth, Dictyostelium cells monitor the relative concentrations of PSF and food bacteria. When PSF reaches a sufficiently high level relative to the concentration of bacteria, synthesis of PSF-regulated proteins is induced. We propose the name prestarvation response for this induction, which takes place in exponentially growing cells several generations before the food bacteria are depleted. We have explored the mechanism by which the food bacteria inhibit the response of Dictyostelium cells to PSF. We find that the bacteria do not inactivate PSF or inhibit its production; instead, they affect the ability of NC4 cells to detect PSF, possibly by binding to the same cell surface receptor. In the absence of bacteria, as during axenic growth of AX3 cells, the prestarvation response occurs at much lower cell densities, probably accounting for the presence of certain developmentally regulated mRNAs and proteins in axenic cultures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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