Behavior of Dictyostelium amoebae is regulated primarily by the temporal dynamic of the natural cAMP wave

Deborah Wessels, John Murray, David R. Soll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

65 Scopus citations


The instantaneous velocity plots of Dictyostelium discoideum amoebae responding to natural waves and simulated temporal waves of cAMP with periods of 7 min are highly similar. This similarity has been used to deduce the dynamics of a natural wave crossing an amoeba, and the behavior of amoebae has been characterized during the different phases of a natural wave with a computer‐assisted dynamic image analyzing system. During the first ∼150 sec of the front of a natural wave, cells move persistently toward the aggregation center, with high instantaneous velocity and a decreased frequency of lateral pseudopod formation. During the last 30 sec of the front of the wave and the first 30 sec of the back of the wave, there is a “freeze” in cell shape and a dramatic depression in cell motility, pseudopod formation, and intracellular particle movement. During the last 180 sec of the back of the wave, there is a rebound in pseudopod formation, but it is random in direction and leads to no net cellular translocation. The data suggest that all of the behavior of a cell but orientation during the translocation phase is mediated by the temporal dynamics of the wave. The data also suggest that orientation toward the aggregation center occurs early in the front of the wave and that, once oriented, cells move in a blind fashion during the translocation phase. © 1992 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-156
Number of pages12
JournalCell motility and the cytoskeleton
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes



  • Dictyostelium
  • cAMP wave
  • chemotaxis
  • pseudopod formation
  • temporal mechanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Cell Biology

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