Synthesis and stability of developmentally regulated dictyostelium mRNAs are affected by cell-cell contact and cAMP

Stephen Chung, Scott M. Landfear, Daphne D. Blumberg, Naomi S. Cohen, Harvey F. Lodish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


Postaggregation Dictyostelium discoideum cells contain 3000 mRNA species that are absent from preaggregation cells; these aggregation-dependent sequences comprise 30% of the mass of mRNA in these cells. We show that the synthesis and stability of these regulated mRNA sequences are affected by both cell-cell contact and cAMP. Three independent assays are used to quantitate these mRNAs: in vitro translation followed by two-dimensional gel analysis of the protein products; hybridization of gel-separated RNAs to cloned DNAs; and hybridization of mRNA to a cDNA probe specific for the population of regulated sequences. In postag-gregation cells, the half-life of both the developmentally regulated mRNAs and the constitutive mRNAs present throughout growth and differentiation is the same-about 4 hr. Following disaggregation, all of the late mRNA sequences are degraded and decay with a half-life of 25 to 45 min. The constitutive species are unaffected; 2.5 hr after disaggregation, the ratio of late to constitutive mRNAs is about 6% that of normal plated cells. Addition of cAMP to cells that have been disaggregated for 2.5 hr (or longer) restores the level of most late mRNAs within 3 hr. We conclude that cAMP stimulates the synthesis of these mRNAs and may also act to stabilize them in the cytoplasm. This effect of cAMP is dependent on the cells having been in contact with other cells; cAMP has no effect on the levels of mRNA in suspension-starved, aggregation-competent cells that have never formed cell-cell aggregates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)785-797
Number of pages13
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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