Developmental Biology

Dicty Tiger Nixes Cheaters

Science Signaling  26 Jul 2011:
Vol. 4, Issue 183, pp. ec210
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.4183ec210

Cells within aggregates of the social amoeba, Dictyostelium discoideum, differentiate to form fruiting bodies containing a mixture of spores from different strains (genotypes). In the process of forming the stalk of the fruiting body, cells die. So what is to stop some strains from “cheating” by not participating in the sacrificial donation of cells to the dying stalk? Hirose et al. studied an amoeba that possesses polymorphic genes called tiger, which mediate self-recognition, signaling, and developmental regulation. In a series of deletion and replacement experiments, a complementary pair of tiger alleles was sufficient to exclude cheaters from the fruiting body.

S. Hirose, R. Benabentos, H.-I. Ho, A. Kuspa, G. Shaulsky, Self-recognition in social amoebae is mediated by allelic pairs of Tiger genes. Science 333, 467–470 (2011). [Abstract] [Full Text]