A cell number counting factor regulates Akt/protein kinase B to regulate Dictyostelium discoideum group size. Academic Article uri icon


  • Little is known about how individual cells can organize themselves to form structures of a given size. During development, Dictyostelium discoideum aggregates in dendritic streams and forms groups of approximately 20,000 cells. D. discoideum regulates group size by secreting and simultaneously sensing a multiprotein complex called counting factor (CF). If there are too many cells in a stream, the associated high concentration of CF will decrease cell-cell adhesion and increase cell motility, causing aggregation streams to break up. The pulses of cyclic AMP (cAMP) that mediate aggregation cause a transient translocation of Akt/protein kinase B (Akt/PKB) to the leading edge of the plasma membrane and a concomitant activation of the kinase activity, which in turn stimulates motility. We found that countin- cells (which lack bioactive CF) and wild-type cells starved in the presence of anticountin antibodies (which block CF activity) showed a decreased level of cAMP-stimulated Akt/PKB membrane translocation and kinase activity compared to parental wild-type cells. Recombinant countin has the bioactivity of CF, and a 1-min treatment of cells with recombinant countin potentiated Akt/PKB translocation to membranes and Akt/PKB activity. Western blotting of total cell lysates indicated that countin does not affect the total level of Akt/PKB. Fluorescence microscopy of cells expressing an Akt/PKB pleckstrin homology domain-green fluorescent protein (PH-GFP) fusion protein indicated that recombinant countin and anti-countin antibodies do not obviously alter the distribution of Akt/PKB PH-GFP when it translocates to the membrane. Our data indicate that CF increases motility by potentiating the cAMP-stimulated activation and translocation of Akt/PKB.

published proceedings

  • Eukaryot Cell

author list (cited authors)

  • Gao, T., Knecht, D., Tang, L., Hatton, R. D., & Gomer, R. H.

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Gao, Tong||Knecht, David||Tang, Lei||Hatton, R Diane||Gomer, Richard H

publication date

  • October 2004