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Differentiation. 1987;34(2):79-87.

Density-dependent induction of discoidin-I synthesis in exponentially growing cells of Dictyostelium discoideum.


The synthesis of the lectin, discoidin I, by vegetative cells of Dictyostelium discoideum (strain NC4) was monitored using immunoblot analysis and indirect immunofluorescence. Suspension cultures were used, so that the D. discoideum cell density and the concentration of bacteria could be controlled. Discoidin-I production was found to be a function of the relative densities of D. discoideum cells and food bacteria. Synthesis was initiated in exponentially growing D. discoideum cells approximately three generations before depletion of the food supply. In the growth medium of cells producing discoidin I, a soluble activity was detected that caused low-density cells to begin discoidin-I synthesis. This activity was not dialyzable and was destroyed by heat. A similar activity was produced by AX3 cells during axenic growth. Density-dependent induction of other 'early developmental' proteins was also detected in wild-type cells. These findings suggest that the expression of several 'early developmental' genes is regulated by a mechanism that measures cell density relative to food supply, not by starvation per se.

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