Cell alignment required in differentiation of Myxococcus xanthus

Science  24 Aug 1990:
Vol. 249, Issue 4971, pp. 926-928
DOI: 10.1126/science.2118274


During fruiting body morphogenesis of Myxococcus xanthus, cell movement is required for transmission of C-factor, a short range intercellular signaling protein necessary for sporulation and developmental gene expression. Nonmotile cells fail to sporulate and to express C-factor-dependent genes, but both defects were rescued by a simple manipulation of cell position that oriented the cells in aligned, parallel groups. A similar pattern of aligned cells normally results from coordinated recruitment of wildtype cells into multicellular aggregates, which later form mature fruiting bodies. It is proposed that directed cell movement establishes critical contacts between adjacent cells, which are required for efficient intercellular C-factor transmission.

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