Zygote giant cell differentiation in Dictyostelium discoideum: biochemical markers of specific stages of sexual development.

Darren D Browning, K. E. Lewis, D. H. O'Day

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


Sexual development in Dictyostelium discoideum has many unique features making it an attractive eukaryotic model system for the study of biomembrane fusion and intercellular communication. The work presented here provides primary biochemical evidence for two distinct phases during early sexual development that appear to be defined by calcium-dependent gamete cell fusion. In addition, we introduce a novel procedure for the enrichment of zygote giant cells and use this method to define certain wheat-germ agglutinin binding glycoproteins which are specifically located in zygote giant cells and others which are markers for surrounding amoebae in the second phase of development. In addition, a G protein which is present in high amounts early in development is unique to giant cells in the second phase, suggesting a role in phagocytosis. Finally, alkaline phosphatase activity was found to mark the first phase of sexual development, suggesting a role in cell fusion. This contrasts with the patterns of alpha-mannosidase and beta-glucosidase activity that increase late in the second developmental phase, where they likely function in endocyte digestion during the cytophagic period. The developmental significance of these findings is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1200-1208
Number of pages9
JournalBiochemistry and cell biology = Biochimie et biologie cellulaire
Issue number10-11
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1992
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

Cite this