A retinoblastoma orthologue is required for the sensing of a chalone in Dictyostelium discoideum. Academic Article uri icon


  • Retinoblastoma-like proteins regulate cell differentiation and inhibit cell proliferation. The Dictyostelium discoideum retinoblastoma orthologue RblA affects the differentiation of cells during multicellular development, but it is unclear whether RblA has a significant effect on Dictyostelium cell proliferation, which is inhibited by the secreted proteins AprA and CfaD. We found that rblA cells in shaking culture proliferate to a higher density, die faster after reaching stationary density, and, after starvation, have a lower spore viability than wild-type cells, possibly because in shaking culture, rblA cells have both increased cytokinesis and lower extracellular accumulation of CfaD. However, rblA cells have abnormally slow proliferation on bacterial lawns. Recombinant AprA inhibits the proliferation of wild-type cells but not that of rblA cells, whereas CfaD inhibits the proliferation of both wild-type cells and rblA cells. Similar to aprA cells, rblA cells have a normal mass and protein accumulation rate on a per-nucleus basis, indicating that RblA affects cell proliferation but not cell growth. AprA also functions as a chemorepellent, and RblA is required for proper AprA chemorepellent activity despite the fact that RblA does not affect cell speed. Together, our data indicate that an autocrine proliferation-inhibiting factor acts through RblA to regulate cell density in Dictyostelium, suggesting that such factors may signal through retinoblastoma-like proteins to control the sizes of structures such as developing organs or tumors.

published proceedings

  • Eukaryot Cell

author list (cited authors)

  • Bakthavatsalam, D., White, M., Herlihy, S. E., Phillips, J. E., & Gomer, R. H.

citation count

  • 3

publication date

  • March 2014