TitleThe onset of collective behavior in social amoebae.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsGregor, T, Fujimoto, K, Masaki, N, Sawai, S
Date Published2010 May 21
Keywords3',5'-Cyclic-AMP Phosphodiesterases, Adenylate Cyclase, Cell Aggregation, Cell Count, Cyclic AMP, Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases, Cytosol, Dictyostelium, Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer, Models, Biological, Periodicity, Protozoan Proteins, Quorum Sensing, Signal Transduction, Stochastic Processes

In the social amoebae Dictyostelium discoideum, periodic synthesis and release of extracellular cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cAMP) guide cell aggregation and commitment to form fruiting bodies. It is unclear whether these oscillations are an intrinsic property of individual cells or if they exist only as a population-level phenomenon. Here, we showed by live-cell imaging of intact cell populations that pulses originate from a discrete location despite constant exchange of cells to and from the region. In a perfusion chamber, both isolated single cells and cell populations switched from quiescence to rhythmic activity depending on the concentration of extracellular cAMP. A quantitative analysis showed that stochastic pulsing of individual cells below the threshold concentration of extracellular cAMP plays a critical role in the onset of collective behavior.

Alternate JournalScience