Selection for spiral waves in the social amoebae Dictyostelium

Eiríkur Pálsson, Kyoung J. Lee, Raymond E. Goldstein, Jakob Franke, Richard H. Kessin, Edward C. Cox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Starving Dictyostelium amoebae emit pulses of the chemoattractant cAMP that are relayed from cell to cell as circular and spiral waves. We have recently modeled spiral wave formation in Dictyostelium. Our model suggests that a secreted protein inhibitor of an extracellular cAMP phosphodiesterase selects for spirals. Herein we test the essential features of this prediction by comparing wave propagation in wild type and inhibitor mutants. We find that mutants rarely form spirals. The territory size of mutant strains is approximately 50 times smaller than wild type, and the mature fruiting bodies are smaller but otherwise normal. These results identify mechanism for selecting one wave symmetry over another in an excitable system and suggest that the phosphodiesterase inhibitor may be under selection because it helps regulate territory size.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13719-13723
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 1997 Dec 9

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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