Evolution of developmental cyclic adenosine monophosphate signaling in the Dictyostelia from an amoebozoan stress response


Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
Email: p.schaap@dundee.ac.uk


The Dictyostelid social amoebas represent one of nature’s several inventions of multicellularity. Though normally feeding as single cells, nutrient stress triggers the collection of amoebas into colonies that form delicately shaped fruiting structures in which the cells differentiate into spores and up to three cell types to support the spore mass. Cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) plays a very dominant role in controlling morphogenesis and cell differentiation in the model species Dictyostelium discoideum. As a secreted chemoattractant cAMP coordinates cell movement during aggregation and fruiting body morphogenesis. Secreted cAMP also controls gene expression at different developmental stages, while intracellular cAMP is extensively used to transduce the effect of other stimuli that control the developmental program. In this review, I present an overview of the different roles of cAMP in the model D. discoideum and I summarize studies aimed to resolve how these roles emerged during Dictyostelid evolution.