cAMP receptor affinity controls wave dynamics, geometry and morphogenesis in Dictyostelium

D. Dormann, J. Y. Kim, P. N. Devreotes, C. J. Weijer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Serpentine G-protein-coupled cAMP receptors are key components in the detection and relay of the extracellular cAMP waves that control chemotactic cell movement during Dictyostelium development. During development the cells sequentially express four closely related cAMP receptors of decreasing affinity. In this study, we investigated the effect of cAMP receptor type and affinity on the dynamics of cell-cell signalling in vivo, by measuring the dynamics of wave initiation and propagation in a variety of cAMP receptor mutants. We found that receptor affinity controls the frequency of wave initiation, but it does not determine wave propagation velocity, thus resulting in dramatic changes in wave geometry. In the limiting case, the affinity of the receptor is so low that waves can still be initiated but no stable centres form - thus, the cells cannot aggregate. In mounds, expression of low affinity receptors results in slow concentric waves instead of the normally observed multi-armed spiral waves. Under these conditions there is no rotational cell movement and the hemispherical mounds cannot transform into slugs. These results highlight the importance of receptor number and affinity in the proper control of cell-cell signalling dynamics required for the successful completion of development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2513-2523
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of cell science
Issue number13
StatePublished - Aug 8 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell movement
  • Chemotaxis
  • Receptor affinity
  • Wave propagation
  • cAMP receptor
  • cAMP relay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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