Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of Signaling Components Involved in the Control of Chemotaxis in Dictyostelium discoideum
1Laboratory of Cellular and Developmental Biology, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda,
MD 20892, USA.
2Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
3 Science�s STKE, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1200 New York Avenue, Washington, DC 20005, USA.
*Corresponding author. E-mail:
This animation shows the redistribution of several proteins during the response of the single-celled organism Dictyostelium discoideum to the chemoattractant cAMP. This genetically tractable model organism moves toward very shallow gradients of cAMP and is widely used to study the cellular mechanisms that control chemotaxis and amplification of signaling gradients across a single cell. Press the arrows at the top of the animation to proceed through each part.
Under quiescent (unstimulated) conditions, the cAMP receptors (cARs) are randomly distributed around the surface of the cell in tight association with heterotrimeric G protein subunits. The PTEN phosphatase, adenylyl cyclase A (ACA), and the kinase PAKa are preferentially localized at the plasma membrane (PM), whereas phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) and its immediate downstream effectors, the pleckstrin homology (PH) domain proteins, are primarily cytosolic. F-actin and myosin II accumulate at the cortex--the inner membrane perimeter.
In the presence of a global, uniform extracellular cAMP stimulus, there is a rapid and dramatic redistribution of signaling
components. Upon stimulation of the cARs, the G proteins become activated, leading to a dissociation of Gα-GTP and Gβγ subunits.
PTEN is delocalized to the cytosol, whereas PI3K becomes preferentially associated with the PM; this yields a consequent net
accumulation of PI(3,4,5)P
When placed in a cAMP gradient, the cells become highly polarized and chemotax in the direction of the gradient source. Under
these conditions, the receptors and G proteins remain uniformly distributed. PI3K and PTEN, however, are reciprocally localized.
PI3K accumulates at the leading edge, whereas PTEN is primarily found at the sides and rear. Collectively, this serves to
This animation was created by Cameron Slayden with the scientific oversight of Carole A. Parent and Alan R. Kimmel.
Learning Resource Type: Animation
Context: Undergraduate upper division, graduate, professional (degree program)
Intended Users: Teacher, learner
Intended Educational Use: Teach, learn
Discipline: Cell biology, molecular biology
Keywords: GPCR, cytoskeleton, signal transduction, phosphoinositides, cyclic AMP, movie
Format: Shockwave flash (swf)
Size: 56 kb
Requirements: Macromedia Flash 5 (http://www.macromedia.com/downloads/)
Connections Maps: A. R. Kimmel, C. A. Parent, Dictyostelium discoideum cAMP chemotaxis pathway. Sci. STKE (Connections Map), http://stke.sciencemag.org/cgi/cm/stkecm;CMP_7918. [Specific Pathway]
Limits for Use
Rights: This material may be downloaded, printed, linked to, and/or redistributed without modification for noncommercial, course-teaching purposes only, provided credit to STKE is included by listing the citation for the teaching resource.
Citation: A. R. Kimmel, C. A. Parent, N. R. Gough, Spatial and temporal dynamics of signaling components involved in the control of chemotaxis in Dictyostelium discoideum. Sci. STKE2004, tr3 (2004).