Initial Cell Type Choice in Dictyostelium
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Much remains to be understood about how a group of cells break symmetry and differentiate into distinct cell types. The simple eukaryote Dictyostelium discoideum is an excellent model system for studying questions such as cell type differentiation. Dictyostelium cells grow as single cells. When the cells starve, they aggregate to develop into a multicellular structure with only two main cell types: spore and stalk. There has been a longstanding controversy as to how a cell makes the initial choice of becoming a spore or stalk cell. In this review, we describe how the controversy arose and how a consensus developed around a model in which initial cell type choice in Dictyostelium is dependent on the cell cycle phase that a cell happens to be in at the time that it starves.
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