During fruiting body development, the product of the csgA gene is necessary for cellular aggregation, for spore differentiation, and for gene expression that is initiated after 6 hr of starvation. From nascent wild-type fruiting bodies we have purified a polypeptide of 17 kd called C-factor, which, at approximately 1 to 2 nM, restores normal development to csgA mutant cells. C-factor activity is not recovered from extracts of unstarved, growing cells or csgA mutant cells. The amino acid sequence from purified C-factor demonstrates that it is the product of the csgA gene. C-factor is active over a narrow range of concentration and has properties of a morphogenetic paracrine signal.