A transcriptional profile of multicellular development in Dictyostelium discoideum

Nancy Van Driessche, Chad Shaw, Mariko Katoh, Takahiro Morio, Richard Sucgang, Miroslava Ibarra, Hidekazu Kuwayama, Tamao Saito, Hideko Urushihara, Mineko Maeda, Ikuo Takeuchi, Hiroshi Ochiai, William Eaton, Jeffrey Tollett, John Halter, Adam Kuspa, Yoshimasa Tanaka, Gad Shaulsky

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


A distinct feature of development in the simple eukaryote Dictyostelium discoideum is an aggregative transition from a unicellular to a multicellular phase. Using genome-wide transcriptional analysis we show that this transition is accompanied by a dramatic change in the expression of more than 25% of the genes in the genome. We also show that the transcription patterns of these genes are not sensitive to the strain or the nutritional history, indicating that Dictyostelium development is a robust physiological process that is accompanied by stereotypical transcriptional events. Analysis of the two differentiated cell types, spores and stalk cells, and their precursors revealed a large number of differentially expressed genes as well as unexpected patterns of gene expression, which shed new light on the timing and possible mechanisms of cell-type divergence. Our findings provide new perspectives on the complexity of the developmental program and the fraction of the genome that is regulated during development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1543-1552
Number of pages10
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA microarray
  • Dictyostelium discoideum
  • Functional genomics
  • Gene expression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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