Evolutionary molecule identified by researchers

August 7, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Researchers at the University of Dundee have identified a molecule that could play a key role in how cells develop into the building blocks of life.

try to understand how cells that are at first identical differentiate into the specialised cell types that make up tissues and organs.

Now researchers in the College of Life Sciences at Dundee, led by Professor Pauline Schaap, have identified a molecule called cyclic-di-GMP as being the `signal' which can induce differentiation into stalk cells.

The Schaap laboratory studies a simple multicellular organism, Dictyostelium, in which motile cells (those which can move spontaneously) differentiate into two immobile cell types: stalk cells and spores.

In earlier research they showed that cyclic AMP induces the differentiation of . Now they have identified another molecule, cyclic-di-GMP, as the signal that induces the differentiation of stalk cells.

The new research is published in the journal Nature.

"Our work presents the opportunity to fully understand how cells learned to become different from each other in early ," said Professor Schaap.

"These findings are also remarkable because cyclic-di-GMP was previously only found in bacteria, where it causes bacteria to lose motility and transform into large sticky colonies, known as biofilms. The fact that an organism like Dictyostelium, which is very far removed from bacteria, uses the same mechanism is very interesting and suggests that the processes which cause in eukaryotes, like ourselves, may have very deep ."

Explore further: Finely tuned WspRs help bacteria beat body by building biofilm

Related Stories

Finely tuned WspRs help bacteria beat body by building biofilm

March 25, 2008

Bacteria are particularly harmful to human health when they band together to form a biofilm—a sheet composed of many individual bacteria glued together—because this can allow them to escape from both antibiotics and the ...

Recommended for you

Cell aging slowed by putting brakes on noisy transcription

July 30, 2015

Working with yeast and worms, researchers found that incorrect gene expression is a hallmark of aged cells and that reducing such "noise" extends lifespan in these organisms. The team published their findings this month in ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
Aug 07, 2012
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
not rated yet Aug 08, 2012
Um, my earlier comment seems to have disappeared.

I was noting that the choice of Dictyostelium as model organism was an excellent one. Yet again it shows how early some traits of multicellulars go.

In other words, I like my molds slimy. =D

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.