Interspecific cell cohesion among 4 species of cellular slime moulds, Dictyostelium discoideum, D. mucoroides, D. purpureum and Polysphondylium violaceum has been studied. Binary mixtures of aggregation-stage cells of the 4 species were shaken in suspension, one species of each pair being labelled with [3H]thymidine. Cell aggregates were sampled at intervals over 24 h and their composition examined by autoradiography. The following results were obtained: (i) Cells of each species were capable of cohesion with those of the other 3 species. (ii) In general cells of both species in any mixture were present in aggregates after 1 h, but were not localized according to species. (iii) Within 8-h aggregates cells of different species were regionally localized, i.e. sorting-out appeared to have taken place. (iv) 24-h aggregates were more varied: in mixtures of Dictyostelium species, the different species were localized within the aggregates; in mixtures of Dictyostelium species with Polsphondylium, there was a tendency for cells of the different species to become segregated into completely separate aggregates. The significance of these results in relation to both previous descriptive work and recent biochemical studies on the mechanism of slime mould cell cohesion is discussed.

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