Key words Slime moulds
Differential gene expression
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract During the life cycle of Physarum polycephalum, uninucleate amoebae develop into multinucleate syncytial plasmodia. These two cell types differ greatly in cellular organisation, behaviour and gene expression. Classical genetic analysis has identified the mating-type gene, matA, as the key gene controlling the initiation of plasmodium development, but nothing is known about the molecular events controlled by matA. In order to identify genes involved in regulating plasmodium formation, we constructed a subtracted cDNA library from cells undergoing development. Three genes that have their highest levels of expression during plasmodium development were identified: redA, redB (regulated in development) and mynD (myosin). Both redA and redB are single-copy genes and are not members of gene families. Although redA has no significant sequence similarities to known genes, redB has sequence similarity to invertebrate sarcoplasmic calcium-binding proteins. The mynD gene is closely related to type II myosin heavy-chain genes from many organisms and is one of a family of type II myosin genes in P. polycephalum. Our results indicate that many more red genes remain to be identified, some of which may play key roles in controlling plasmodium formation.
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