The spatial expression patterns of genes involved in cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) responses during morphogenesis in Dictyostelium discoideum were analyzed by in situ hybridization. Genes encoding adenylyl cyclase A (ACA), cAMP receptor 1, G-protein alpha2 and beta subunits, cytosolic activator of ACA (CRAC and Aimless), catalytic subunit of protein kinase A (PKA-C) and cAMP phosphodiesterases (PDE and REG-A) were preferentially expressed in the anterior prestalk (tip) region of slugs, which acts as an organizing center. MAP kinase ERK2 (extracellular signal-regulated kinase-2) mRNA, however, was enriched in the posterior prespore region. At the culmination stage, the expression of ACA, CRAC and PKA-C mRNA increased in prespore cells in contrast with the previous stage. However, no alteration in the site of expression was observed for the other mRNA analyzed. Based on these findings, two and four classes of expression patterns were catalogued for these genes during the slug and culmination stages, respectively. Promoter analyses of genes in particular classes should enhance understanding of the regulation of dynamic and coordinated gene expression during morphogenesis.