Plasticity in the development and dedifferentiation of Dictyostelium discoideum

Dev Growth Differ. 2011 May;53(4):587-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-169X.2011.01256.x.


Dictyostelium discoideum has served as a model for development and differentiation for over 70 years. Also regulated in Dictyostelium is the process of dedifferentiation, which consists of multiple cellular events that are separately regulated, providing an excellent model system for studying the return of partially differentiated cells to a more pluripotent state. An interesting aspect of Dictyostelium development is the plasticity between growth and development. Reversibility of the processes of differentiation and dedifferentiation exist, allowing Dictyostelium to adjust to changing conditions by reverting to the growth phase during differentiation or reinitiating development during dedifferentiation. This ability of cells to respond to environmental cues is mediated by the checkpoint-like events "commitment" and "erasure," which occur during differentiation and dedifferentiation, respectively. Our review will discuss the current state of knowledge regarding dedifferentiation and the plasticity of the developmental process in both the forward and reverse directions.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation* / genetics
  • Dictyostelium / cytology
  • Dictyostelium / growth & development*