A temperature-sensitive mutant of Dictyostelium discoideum has been isolated based on its lack of chemotaxis toward cyclic AMP at the restrictive temperature, 27 degrees C. The mutant develops normally at the permissive temperature, 22 degrees C, but fails to aggregate or complete development at the restrictive temperature. The temperature-sensitive phenotype can be bypassed by allowing cultures to grown into late log phase or to starve for 60–90 min at 22 degrees C prior to a shift to 27 degrees C. At 27 degrees C, the mutant overproduces cell surface cyclic AMP receptors of both high and low affinity and is capable of spontaneous oscillations in light scattering in cell suspensions. Despite its complete lack of morphological development, the mutant undergoes extensive biochemical differentiation. At the onset of starvation, it shows increased levels of N-acetylglucosaminidase, it express cyclic AMP receptors at the normal time and, although somewhat slowly, suppresses those receptors as if aggregation had been achieved. Metabolic pulse labellings with [35S]methionine revealed that the mutant at 27 degrees C displays the same changes in the patterns of newly synthesized proteins observed during the vegetative-to-aggregation and the aggregation-to-slug stages of normal development. The only clear difference from wild type was the failure of the culmination-stage isozyme of beta-glucosidase to appear. The mutant is defective in establishment of intercellular cohesion mechanisms, correlated with poor agglutination by concanavalin A, at the restrictive temperature. The properties of the mutant place severe constraints on models regarding the role of chemoreception and intercellular cohesion in regulation of gene expression.

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