Cell-autonomous determination of cell-type choice in Dictyostelium development by cell-cycle phase

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Science  14 Aug 1987:
Vol. 237, Issue 4816, pp. 758-762
DOI: 10.1126/science.3039657


The developmental fate of individual cells has been examined in a system that allows Dictyostelium discoideum cells to differentiate in the absence of aggregation. The results show that the propensity of single amoebae to differentiate into either prespore or prestalk cells occurs by a cell-autonomous mechanism dependent on the cell's position in the cell cycle at the initiation of development. Cells that divide between approximately 1 1/2 hours before and approximately 40 minutes after the differentiation-inducing starvation become prestalk, whereas cells dividing at other times become prespore cells. These results suggest mechanisms by which an initial proportioning of the two cell types within the aggregate is achieved.