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The control of cell movement during Dictyostelium morphogenesis

Presented by: 
K Weijer [Dundee]
Thursday 27th September 2001 - 14:30 to 15:30
INI Seminar Room 1
Session Title: 
Vertical Integration in Biology: From Molecules to Organisms
Starvation results in the chemotactic aggregation of single cells of the social amoebae Dictyostelium discoideum to form a fruiting body. Morphogenesis results from the coordinated movement of differentiating cells. We study the dynamics and geometry signals controlling cell movement during all stages of development. Cell movement is controlled by propagating waves of the chemoattractant cAMP. During aggregation these waves have the form of target patterns or simple spirals. In the mound and slug stage of development the waves have more complex geometry's, such as multi-armed scroll waves. We can now visualise cAMP signal transduction at the single cell level in vivo and are analysing the dynamics of cAMP signalling in all celltypes during development in a series of signalling and movement mutants. We correlate the signalling and movement response of individual cells and begin to understand how the geometry of the waves in conjunction with a celltype specific differential chemotactic movement gives rise to the organism's characteristic morphogenesis. We have formalised these findings into both discrete and continuous mathematical models that can describe the aggregation, mound and slug stages of Dictyostelium development.
University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons