Cell Interactions and Pattern Formation in Dictyostelium Discoideum

  • Daniel McMahon
Part of the Recent Advances in Phytochemistry book series (RAPT, volume 15)


The panoply of forms of plants and animals is as amazing as is the reproducibility with which each form is produced within a given species of plant or animal. The reproducibility is determined by a molecular mechanism through which cells in the organism determine their relative position. This process leads to the pattern of spots on the frog, stripes on a tiger, and the precise interconnections which occur between the ganglion cells of retina and their target neurons in the optic tectum of the frog.1 In the cellular slime mold, Dictyostelium discoideum, the process of cellular position determination occurs in the pseudoplasmodium and leads to two types of cells: stalk cells and spore cells. Approximately 1/3 of the cells in the pseudoplasmodium become stalk cells; most of the remaining two-thirds of the cells become spores.2 The proportioning is largely invariant over a wide variety of experimental conditions and over an approximately one hundred thousand fold difference in number of cells in the pseudoplasmodium.


Dictyostelium Discoideum Stalk Cell Spore Cell Cellular Slime Mold Macromolecular Composition 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel McMahon
    • 1
  1. 1.Program in Genetics and Department of ZoologyWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA

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