A factor diffuses from Escherichia coli that temporarily or permanently prevents separate pre-aggregation cells of Dictyostelium discoideum from forming aggregation centres or streams. Centres are inhibited at a greater distance from the bacteria than are streams. The inhibitor does not support the slime-mould's growth, and it has different properties from previously discovered aggregation-centre inhibitors released by the amoebae themselves. The factor, as produced, does not inhibit Polysphondylium violaceum cells from forming centres or streams. Yet although E. coli itself attracts pre-aggregation P. violaceum cells, it does not mimic a P. violaceum aggregate in inducing them to form streams.

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