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Development. 1995 Aug;121(8):2291-301.

Patterns of free calcium in multicellular stages of Dictyostelium expressing jellyfish apoaequorin.

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Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA.


To examine the patterns of high free cytosolic calcium or [Ca2+]i during Dictyostelium's development, we expressed apoaequorin in D. discoideum, reconstituted aequorin and observed the resultant patterns of calcium-dependent luminescence. Specific, high calcium zones are seen throughout normal multicellular development and are roughly coincident with those regions that later differentiate into stalk or stalk-like cells. A slug, for example, shows a primary high calcium zone within its front quarter and a secondary one around its tail; while a mound shows such a zone around the periphery of its base. Combined with previous evidence, our findings support the hypothesis that high [Ca2+]i feeds back to favor the stalk pathway. We also discovered several high calcium zones within the mound's base that do not coincide with any known prepatterns in D. discoideum. These include two, relatively persistent, antipodal strips along the mound's periphery. These various persistent zones of high calcium are largely made up of frequent, 10 to 30 second long, semiperiodic calcium spikes. Each of these spikes generates a correspondingly short-lived, 200 to 500 microns long, high calcium band which extends along the nearby surface. Similar, but relatively large and infrequent, spikes generate cross bands which extend across migrating slugs and just behind their advancing tips as well as across the peripheries of rotating mounds and midway between their antipodal strips. Moreover, calcium has a doubling time of about a second as various spikes rise. This last observation suggests that the calcium bands seen in Dictyostelium may be generated by so-called fast calcium waves.

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