• Dictyostelium;
  • differentiation inducing factor;
  • differentiation;
  • prestalk cell;
  • transcription factors

Transcriptional control of developmental genes is important for cell differentiation and pattern formation. Developing Dictyostelium discoideum cells form a multicellular structure in which individual cells differentiate into either stalk cells or spores. This simplicity makes the organism an attractive model for studying fundamental problems in developmental biology. However, the morphogenetic process of forming a stalked fruiting body conceals a certain degree of complexity. This is reflected in the presence of multiple prestalk subtypes that have individual roles to generate the fruiting body. This review describes recent advances in understanding the molecular mechanisms, mediated by transcription factors that generate prestalk-cell heterogeneity.