Allorecognition and tissue formation are interconnected processes that require signaling between matching pairs of the polymorphic transmembrane proteins TgrB1 and TgrC1 in Dictyostelium. Extracellular and intracellular cAMP signaling are essential to many developmental processes. The three adenylate cyclase genes, acaA, acrA and acgA are required for aggregation, culmination and spore dormancy, respectively, and some of their functions can be suppressed by activation of the cAMP-dependent protein kinase PKA. Previous studies have suggested that cAMP signaling might be dispensable for allorecognition and tissue formation, while others have argued that it is essential throughout development. Here, we show that allorecognition and tissue formation do not require cAMP production as long as PKA is active. We eliminated cAMP production by deleting the three adenylate cyclases and overexpressed PKA-C to enable aggregation. The cells exhibited cell polarization, tissue formation and cooperation with allotype-compatible wild-type cells, but not with incompatible cells. Therefore, TgrB1-TgrC1 signaling controls allorecognition and tissue formation, while cAMP is dispensable as long as PKA-C is overexpressed.

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