1Present address: Department of Surgery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
The trishanku gene and terminal morphogenesis in Dictyostelium discoideum
Article first published online: 28 OCT 2009
© 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Evolution & Development
Volume 11, Issue 6, pages 697–709, November/December 2009
How to Cite
Mujumdar, N., Inouye, K. and Nanjundiah, V. (2009), The trishanku gene and terminal morphogenesis in Dictyostelium discoideum. Evolution & Development, 11: 697–709. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-142X.2009.00377.x
- Issue published online: 28 OCT 2009
- Article first published online: 28 OCT 2009
SUMMARY Multicellular development in the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum is triggered by starvation. It involves a series of morphogenetic movements, among them being the rising of the spore mass to the tip of the stalk. The process requires precise coordination between two distinct cell types—presumptive (pre-) spore cells and presumptive (pre-) stalk cells. Trishanku (triA) is a gene expressed in prespore cells that is required for normal morphogenesis. The triA− mutant shows pleiotropic effects that include an inability of the spore mass to go all the way to the top. We have examined the cellular behavior required for the normal ascent of the spore mass. Grafting and mixing experiments carried out with tissue fragments and cells show that the upper cup, a tissue that derives from prestalk cells and anterior-like cells (ALCs), does not develop properly in a triA− background. A mutant upper cup is unable to lift the spore mass to the top of the fruiting body, likely due to defective intercellular adhesion. If wild-type upper cup function is provided by prestalk and ALCs, trishanku spores ascend all the way. Conversely, Ax2 spores fail to do so in chimeras in which the upper cup is largely made up of mutant cells. Besides proving that under these conditions the wild-type phenotype of the upper cup is necessary and sufficient for terminal morphogenesis in D. discoideum, this study provides novel insights into developmental and evolutionary aspects of morphogenesis in general. Genes that are active exclusively in one cell type can elicit behavior in a second cell type that enhances the reproductive fitness of the first cell type, thereby showing that morphogenesis is a cooperative process.