Two distinct signaling pathways mediate DIF induction of prestalk gene expression in Dictyostelium

Laurens Bosman, Pauline Schaap*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


During Dictyostelium development, the differentiation inducing factor (DIF) triggers expression of the prestalk gene ecmB and induces stalk cell differentiation, a form of programmed cell death. The effects of DIF are mediated by a sustained increase in cytosolic Ca2+ levels. The Ca2+ ATPase inhibitor BHQ causes a similar rise in Ca2+ levels and also induces prestalk gene expression. We show here that Ca2+ is a specific intermediate for prestalk gene induction, since BHQ represses transcription of the cAMP- inducible aggregative gene PDE, the postaggregative gene CP2, and the prespore gene D19. The prestalk gene ecmA is also induced by DIF, but induction appears to occur in two steps, which occur within 1 h and after 2 h, respectively. The slow step shows the same kinetics as ecmB induction and similar to ecmB induction, this step is BHQ inducible and requires an initial round of protein synthesis. The fast step does not require protein synthesis and cannot be induced by BHQ. This indicates that in addition to the slow Ca2+-mediated pathway, there is probably a second fast Ca2+-independent signal transduction pathway for DIF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-185
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 1998

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Rich Kessin and Rick Firtel for their kind gifts of PDEag-gal and CP2-gal cell lines, respectively, and Jeff Williams for kindly providing the ecmB-gal and D19-gal cell lines and ecmA and ecmB cDNAs. This research was supported by Grant 805-31-051 from the Life Sciences Foundation of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research.


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