Cells grow, move, expand, shrink and die in the process of generating the characteristic shapes of organisms. Although the structures generated during development of the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum look nothing like the structures seen in metazoan embryogenesis, some of the morphogenetic processes used in their making are surprisingly similar. Recent advances in understanding the molecular basis for directed cell migration, cell type specific sorting, differential adhesion, secretion of matrix components, pattern formation, regulation and terminal differentiation are reviewed. Genes involved in Dictyostelium aggregation, slug formation, and culmination of fruiting bodies are discussed.
Keywords: Cell type divergence; Development; G protein coupled receptors (GPCR); Homologs; Molecular genetics; Multicellular morphogenesis; Proportioning; RasGTP; Ultrasensitived LEGI.
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