, Volume 141, Issue 2-3, pp 101-111

Growth and development in relation to the cell cycle inPhysarum polycephalum

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In strain CL ofPhysarum polycephalum, multinucleate, haploid plasmodia form within clones of uninucleate, haploid amoebae. Analysis of plasmodium development, using time-lapse cinematography, shows that binucleate cells arise from uninucleate cells, by mitosis without cytokinesis. Either one or both daughter cells, from an apparently normal amoebal division, can enter an extended cell cycle (28.7 hours compared to the 11.8 hours for vegetative amoebae) that ends in the formation of a binucleate cell. This long cycle is accompanied by extra growth; cells that become binucleate are twice as big as amoebae at the time of mitosis. Nuclear size also increases during the extended cell cycle: flow cytometric analysis indicates that this is not associated with an increase over the haploid DNA content. During the extended cell cycle uninucleate cells lose the ability to transform into flagellated cells and also become irreversibly committed to plasmodium development. It is shown that commitment occurs a maximum of 13.5 hours before binucleate cell formation and that loss of ability to flagellate precedes commitment by 3–5 hours. Plasmodia develop from binucleate cells by cell fusions and synchronous mitoses without cytokinesis.