The motile responses of Dictyostelium discoideum amoebae to a cyclic AMP (cAMP) concentration gradient were examined using a novel assay system. In this system, a cAMP concentration gradient was generated, while the overall cAMP concentration could be either increased or decreased in a chamber containing amoebae. The chemotactic responses of amoebae were examined immediately after they had been subjected to the cAMP concentration gradient. Amoebae moving in random directions in a reference solution ascended a cAMP concentration gradient after they had been exposed to the gradient irrespective of whether there was an increase or a decrease in the overall cAMP concentration. This strongly supports the idea that D. discoideum amoebae can sense a spatial cAMP gradient around them and that this causes their chemoaccumulation behavior. Ascending locomotion became less conspicuous when the amoebae were treated with a homogeneous cAMP solution for approximately 8 min before exposure to a cAMP gradient. This cAMP pretreatment reduced the sensitivity of the amoeba to a cAMP concentration gradient. The cAMP concentration gradient could be reversed in less than 30 s in this assay system, allowing the generation of a cAMP wave by accumulating amoebae to be mimicked. The ascending amoebae continued to move in the same direction for 1–2 min after the gradient had been reversed. This is consistent with the well-known observation that reversal of a cAMP concentration gradient experienced by the amoebae passing through a cAMP wave does not negate their chemotactic movement towards the accumulation center.
Chemotactic responses of Dictyostelium discoideum amoebae to a cyclic AMP concentration gradient: evidence to support a spatial mechanism for sensing cyclic AMP
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T. Tani, Y. Naitoh; Chemotactic responses of Dictyostelium discoideum amoebae to a cyclic AMP concentration gradient: evidence to support a spatial mechanism for sensing cyclic AMP. J Exp Biol 1 January 1999; 202 (1): 1–12. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.202.1.1
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