cAMP oscillations, generated by adenylyl cyclase A (ACA), coordinate cell aggregation in Dictyostelium and have also been implicated in organizer function during multicellular development. We used a gene fusion of the ACA promoter with a labile lacZ derivative to study the expression pattern of ACA. During aggregation, most cells expressed ACA, but thereafter expression was lost in all cells except those of the anterior tip. Before aggregation, ACA transcription was strongly upregulated by nanomolar cAMP pulses. Postaggregative transcription was sustained by nanomolar cAMP pulses, but downregulated by a continuous micromolar cAMP stimulus and by the stalk-cell-inducing factor DIF. Earlier work showed that the transcription factor StatA displays tip-specific nuclear translocation and directs tip-specific expression of the nuclear protein CudA, which is essential for culmination. Both StatA and CudA were present in nuclei throughout the entire slug in an aca null mutant that expresses ACA from the constitutive actin15 promoter. This suggests that the tip-specific expression of ACA directs tip-specific nuclear translocation of StatA and tip-specific expression of CudA.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.