Conditions that elevate intracellular cyclic AMP levels promote spore formation in Dictyostelium. Academic Article uri icon


  • We have been using sporogenous mutants of Dictyostelium discoideum strain V12M2 to study regulation of cell fate during terminal differentiation of spores and stalk cells. Analyses of intracellular cAMP accumulation, cAMP secretion, cAMP binding to cell surface receptors, and chemotactic sensitivity to exogenous cAMP during aggregation showed that all of these functions were identical in V12M2 and HB200, a sporogenous mutant. We used several methods of altering intracellular cAMP levels in HB200 cells to test the hypothesis that intracellular cAMP levels affect cell fate. First, HB200 amoebae were treated with 5 mM caffeine for 4 h during growth, washed, and allowed to develop in the absence of caffeine. Treated cells had normal levels of intracellular cAMP and adenylate cyclase activities at the beginning of differentiation; by 6 h development, they contained two to three times more intracellular cAMP and two times more GTP-dependent adenylate cyclase activity than untreated cells. However, their level of basal Mn++-dependent adenylate cyclase activity was the same as untreated controls. Thus, treatment of growing HB200 amoebae with caffeine for only 4 h leads to hyperinduction of a GTP-dependent regulator (or inhibition of a negative regulator) of adenylate cyclase during subsequent differentiation, without induction of basal activity. The fraction of amoebae forming spores increased twofold when HB200 amoebae were treated with caffeine during growth. Spore (but not stalk cell) differentiation by such treated cells was blocked by inhibitors of cAMP accumulation. Second, cells grown on nutrient agar accumulated higher levels of intracellular cAMP and formed more spores in vitro than cells grown in shaken suspension.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

published proceedings

  • Differentiation

author list (cited authors)

  • Riley, B. B., Jensen, B. R., & Barclay, S. L.

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • Riley, BB||Jensen, BR||Barclay, SL

publication date

  • January 1989