Structure elucidation of two differentiation inducing factors (DIF-2 and DIF-3) from the cellular slime mould Dictyostelium discoideum.
ABSTRACT: Two endogenous differentiation-inducing factors (DIF-2 and DIF-3), which induce stalk-cell differentiation in the cellular slime mould Dictyostelium discoideum, have been identified as the pentan-1-one and monochloro analogues respectively of (1-[(3,5-dichloro-2,6-dihydroxy-4-methoxy)phenyl]hexan-1-one). These compounds represent a new chemical class of effector molecules.
Project description:Previous work has led to the identification of a novel class of effector molecules [DIFs (differentiation-inducing factors) 1-3] released from the slime mould Dictyostelium discoideum. These substances induce stalk-cell differentiation in Dictyostelium discoideum and are thought to act as morphogens in the generation of the prestalk/prespore pattern during development. The DIFs are phenylalkan-1-ones, with chloro, hydroxy and methoxy substitution on the benzene ring. DIFs 1-3 and a number of their analogues have been synthesized by using a simple two-step procedure, and each analogue has been characterized by m.s., u.v. and n.m.r. spectroscopy. The crystal structure of synthetic DIF-1 [1-(3,5-dichloro-2,6-dihydroxy-4-methoxyphenyl)hexan-1-one, was investigated. The specific biological activity of each analogue was determined in a bioassay, where isolated Dictyostelium amoebae are induced to differentiate into stalk cells. The major biologically active substance, DIF-1, caused 50% stalk-cell differentiation at 1.8 x 10(-10) M; the C4 alkyl homologue (DIF-2) and C6 homologue possessed 40 and 16% of the activity of DIF-1 respectively. Further increase or decrease in the alkyl chain length resulted in a marked decrease in specific activity. The pattern of substitution on the benzene ring is a major determinant of bioactivity, since the specific activities of the 2,4-dihydroxy-6-methoxy and trihydroxy analogues were less than 1% of that of DIF-1. Substitution of bromine in DIF-1 had little effect on bioactivity; in contrast the activity of monochloro-DIF-1 (DIF-3) was diminished. There was no evidence for antagonism or synergy between DIF-1 and any of its analogues. This series of analogues will facilitate further studies in the biological effects and mode of action of DIF-1.
Project description:Stalk cell differentiation during development of the slime mould Dictyostelium is induced by a chlorinated alkyl phenone called differentiation-inducing factor-1 (DIF-1). Inactivation of DIF-1 is likely to be a key element in the DIF-1 signalling system, and we have shown previously that this is accomplished by a dedicated metabolic pathway involving up to 12 unidentified metabolites. We report here the structure of the first four metabolites produced from DIF-1, as deduced by m.s., n.m.r. and chemical synthesis. The structures of these compounds show that the first step in metabolism is a dechlorination of the phenolic ring, producing DIF metabolite 1 (DM1). DM1 is identical with the previously known minor DIF activity, DIF-3. DIF-3 is then metabolized by three successive oxidations of its aliphatic side chain: a hydroxylation at omega-2 to produce DM2, oxidation of the hydroxy group to a ketone group to produce DM3 and a further hydroxylation at omega-1 to produce DM4, a hydroxyketone of DIF-3. We have investigated the enzymology of DIF-1 metabolism. It is already known that the first step, to produce DIF-3, is catalysed by a novel dechlorinase. The enzyme activity responsible for the first side-chain oxidation (DIF-3 hydroxylase) was detected by incubating [3H]DIF-3 with cell-free extracts and resolving the reaction products by t.l.c. DIF-3 hydroxylase has many of the properties of a cytochrome P-450. It is membrane-bound and uses NADPH as co-substrate. It is also inhibited by CO, the classic cytochrome P-450 inhibitor, and by several other cytochrome P-450 inhibitors, as well as by diphenyliodonium chloride, an inhibitor of cytochrome P-450 reductase. DIF-3 hydroxylase is highly specific for DIF-3: other closely related compounds do not compete for the activity at 100-fold molar excess, with the exception of the DIF-3 analogue lacking the chlorine atom. The Km for DIF-3 of 47 nM is consistent with this enzyme being responsible for DIF-3 metabolism in vivo. The two further oxidations necessary to produce DM4 are also performed in vitro by similar enzyme activities. One of the inhibitors of DIF-3 hydroxylase, ancymidol (IC50 67 nM) is likely to be particularly suitable for probing the function of DIF metabolism during development.
Project description:1. 6-Phosphogluconate dehydrogenase activity is present in all morphogenetic stages during cell differentiation in the cellular slime mould. 2. The different ratios of 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase/UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase observed during this process can render spectrophotometric assays of UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase inaccurate. 3. The disputed occurrence of increases in specific activity of UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase during cell differentiation in the cellular slime mould is discussed in the light of these observations.
Project description:1. A simple axenic medium suitable for the growth of the myxamoebae of a strain of the cellular slime mould Dictyostelium discoideum is described. 2. Procedures suitable for the growth of this strain in liquid and on solid media are described. 3. Conditions suitable for initiating the cell differentiation of myxamoebae grown axenically are described.
Project description:Slime mould Physarum polycephalum is a single cell visible by the unaided eye. Let the slime mould span two electrodes with a single protoplasmic tube: if the tube is heated to approximately ≈40 °C, the electrical resistance of the protoplasmic tube increases from ≈3 MΩ to ≈10,000 MΩ. The organism's resistance is not proportional nor correlated to the temperature of its environment. Slime mould can therefore not be considered as a thermistor but rather as a thermic switch. We employ the P. polycephalum thermic switch to prototype hybrid electrical analog summator, NAND gates, and cascade the gates into Flip-Flop latch. Computing operations performed on this bio-hybrid computing circuitry feature high repeatability, reproducibility and comparably low propagation delays.
Project description:1. The slug stage of the cellular slime mould Dictyostelium discoideum has been shown to contain two types of cell, which differ in buoyant density. 2. These two cell types also differ in cytological appearance and histochemical behaviour and have very different enzymic activities. 3. Evidence is presented suggesting that the lighter of these two cell types corresponds to cells from the posterior region of the slug (pre-spore cells) and the heavier of the two to cells from the anterior region of the slug (pre-stalk cells).
Project description:1. The myxamoebae of the cellular slime mould Dictyostelium discoideum possess several typically lysosomal enzyme activities. 2. These enzymes are present in the cell in association and in a lysosome-like particle. 3. The lysosomes of myxamoebae grown axenically have a different enzymic composition and a different density from those grown on bacteria. 4. During cell differentiation the specific activities of the lysosomal enzymes change. 5. It is suggested that both during growth and differentiation the amounts of lysosomal enzymes present in the cell are regulated.
Project description:1. The DNA, RNA, protein and carbohydrate contents of myxamoebae of Dictyostelium discoideum strain Ax-2 were measured after growth on bacteria or in various axenic media. 2. Myxamoebae grown in the different axenic media have similar DNA, RNA and protein contents, but there are marked differences in the contents of glycogen and free sugars. The DNA and protein contents of myxamoebae grown on bacteria are different from those in myxamoebae grown axenically. 3. Approximately half the DNA found in myxamoebae grown on bacteria is of bacterial rather than of slime-mould origin. 4. The specific activities of some enzymes (including UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase) are higher in myxamoebae grown axenically than in myxamoebae grown on bacteria. Nevertheless the characteristic increase in the specific activity of UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase occurring during differentiation of cells of the wild-type strain NC-4 is also found in cells grown axenically. 5. The rate of amino acid oxidation during axenic growth of the myxamoebae is decreased when the cells are supplied with glucose.
Project description:Cells are dynamic systems capable of switching from isotropic growth to polarized growth even in the absence of any pre-existing external asymmetry. Here, we study this process of symmetry breaking in the acellular slime mould Physarum polycephalum. In these experiments, slime moulds could grow on two identical opposed sources of calcium. We highlighted a positive correlation between growth dynamic, level of symmetry breaking and calcium concentration. We identified three populations of slime moulds within our clonal lineage with similar symmetry breaking behaviours but different motility characteristics. These behavioural differences between slime moulds emerged in the absence of any environmental differences. Such behavioural plasticity could generate cellular diversity, which can be critical for survival.
Project description:Although significant progress has been made using insect taxa as model organisms, non-tracheated terrestrial arthropods, such as Collembola, are underrepresented as model species. This underrepresentation reflects the difficulty in maintaining populations of specialist Collembola species in the laboratory. Until now, no species from the family Neanuridae have been successfully reared. Here we use controlled growth experiments to provide explicit evidence that the species Neanura muscorum can be raised under laboratory conditions when its diet is supplemented with slime mould. Significant gains in growth were observed in Collembola given slime mould rather than a standard diet of algae-covered bark. These benefits are further highlighted by the reproductive success of the experimental group and persistence of laboratory breeding stocks of this species and others in the family. The necessity for slime mould in the diet is attributed to the 'suctorial' mouthpart morphology characteristic of the Neanuridae. Maintaining laboratory populations of neanurid Collembola species will facilitate their use as model organisms, paving the way for studies that will broaden the current understanding of the environmental physiology of arthropods.