Structural and functional characterization of genes encoding Dictyostelium prestalk and prespore cell-specific proteins

Dev Genet. 1988;9(4-5):383-402. doi: 10.1002/dvg.1020090419.


The nucleotide sequence of D19, a Dictyostelium gene that encodes a prespore-specific mRNA sequence shows it to encode PsA, the cell surface protein detected by the MUD 1 monoclonal antibody. The predicted sequence of the protein reveals a largely hydrophobic C terminus, with chemical similarity to proteins known to be attached to the plasma membrane via a phosphatidylinositol link. The C-terminal region has direct sequence homology to the contact sites A protein and to the phosphatidylinositol-linked form of a chicken N-CAM, suggesting that it might play a role in cell adhesion. Expression of the D19 gene is known to be induced by cAMP and repressed by adenosine. The accumulation of the D19 mRNA is also repressed by DIF, the putative stalk-specific morphogen, and this effect is mediated at the transcriptional level. The pDd56 and pDd63 genes are induced by DIF, and they are specific markers of prestalk and stalk cells. They encode, respectively, ST310 and ST430, two proteins that were first identified by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Both proteins are predominantly composed of a highly conserved, 24-amino acid repeat. The two proteins are localized in the slime sheath of the migratory slug and in the stalk tube and stalk cell wall of the mature culminant, where they presumably function as structural components of the extracellular matrix. We have constructed marked derivatives of the pDd56, pDd63, and D19 genes, and these are correctly regulated after transformation into Dictyostelium cells. Thus we have determined the structure, and elucidated possible functions, for one prespore and two prestalk genes. These sequences should be of value, both as markers of the earliest events in cellular differentiation and in identifying the regulatory sequences controlling cell type-specific gene expression.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Dictyostelium / genetics*
  • Dictyostelium / physiology
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics*
  • Genes*
  • Genes, Fungal*
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Spores, Fungal / physiology


  • Fungal Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger