Intercellular communication in the multicellular stage of Dictyostelium discoideum

Balkrishna L. Lokeshwar, Vidyanand Nanjundiah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The aim of the present study was to draw inferences regarding the properties of single cells responsible for co-operative behaviour in the slug of the soil amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum. The slug is an integrated multicellular mass formed by the aggregation of starved cells. The amoebae comprising the slug differentiate according to their spatial locations relative to one another, implying that, as in the case of other regulative embryos, they must be in mutual communication. We have previously shown that one manifestation of this communication is the time taken for the anteriormost fragment of the slug, the tip, to regenerate from slugs which have been rendered tipless by amputation. We present results of tip-regeneration experiments performed on genetically mosaic slugs. By comparing the mosaics with their component pure genotypes, we were able to discriminate between a set of otherwise equally plausible modes of intercellular signalling. Neither a‘pacemaker’ model, in which the overall rate of tip regeneration is determined by the cell with the highest frequency of autonomous oscillation, nor an ‘independent-particle’ model, in which the rate of regeneration is the arithmetical average of independent cell-dependent rates, is in quantitative accord with our findings. Our results are best explained by a form of signalling which operates by means of cell-to-cell relay. Therefore intercellular communication Seems to be essential for tip regeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-20
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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