[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dictyostelium discoideum (DD), an extensively studied model organism for cell and developmental biology, belongs to the most derived group 4 of social amoebas, a clade of altruistic multicellular organisms. To understand genome evolution over long time periods and the genetic basis of social evolution, we sequenced the genomes of Dictyostelium fasciculatum (DF) and Polysphondylium pallidum (PP), which represent the early diverging groups 1 and 2, respectively. In contrast to DD, PP and DF have conventional telomere organization and strongly reduced numbers of transposable elements. The number of protein-coding genes is similar between species, but only half of them comprise an identifiable set of orthologous genes. In general, genes involved in primary metabolism, cytoskeletal functions and signal transduction are conserved, while genes involved in secondary metabolism, export, and signal perception underwent large differential gene family expansions. This most likely signifies involvement of the conserved set in core cell and developmental mechanisms, and of the diverged set in niche- and species-specific adaptations for defense and food, mate, and kin selection. Phylogenetic dating using a concatenated data set and extensive loss of synteny indicate that DF, PP, and DD split from their last common ancestor at least 0.6 billion years ago.
Genome Research 07/2011; 21(11):1882-91. · 14.40 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Infection of Dictyostelium discoideum with Legionella pneumophila resulted in a large number of differentially regulated genes among them three core autophagy genes, ATG8, ATG9 and ATG16. Macroautophagy contributes to many physiological and pathological processes and might also constitute an important mechanism in cell-autonomous immunity. For further studies we selected the highly conserved ATG9. In colocalization studies with GFP-tagged ATG9 and different organelle marker proteins we neither observed colocalization with mitochondria, the ER nor lysosomes. However, there was partial colocalization with the Golgi apparatus and many ATG9-GFP-containing vesicles localized along microtubules and accumulated around the microtubule organizing centre. ATG9-deficient cells had pleiotropic defects. In addition to growth defects they displayed severe developmental defects, consistent with the known role of autophagy in Dictyostelium development. Unexpectedly, the ATG9 mutant also had a strong phagocytosis defect that was particularly apparent when infecting the cells with L. pneumophila. However, those Legionellae that entered the host could multiply better in mutant than in wild-type cells, because of a less efficient clearance in the early and a more efficient replication in the late phase of infection. We conclude that ATG9 and hence macroautophagy has a protective role during pathogen infection.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Eukaryotic cells contain a large number of actin binding proteins of different functions, locations and concentrations. They bind either to monomeric actin (G-actin) or to actin filaments (F-actin) and thus regulate the dynamic rearrangement of the actin cytoskeleton. The Dictyostelium discoideum genome harbors representatives of all G-actin binding proteins including actobindin, twinfilin, and profilin. A phylogenetic analysis of all profilins suggests that two distinguishable groups emerged very early in evolution and comprise either vertebrate and viral profilins or profilins from all other organisms. The newly discovered profilin III isoform in D. discoideum shows all functions that are typical for a profilin. However, the concentration of the third isoform in wild type cells reaches only about 0.5% of total profilin. In a yeast-2-hybrid assay profilin III was found to bind specifically to the proline-rich region of the cytoskeleton-associated vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP). Immunolocalization studies showed similar to VASP the profilin III isoform in filopodia and an enrichment at their tips. Cells lacking the profilin III isoform show defects in cell motility during chemotaxis. The low abundance and the specific interaction with VASP argue against a significant actin sequestering function of the profilin III isoform.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 06/2007; 1773(5):631-41. · 4.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dictyostelium discoideum is frequently subjected to environmental changes in its natural habitat, the forest soil. In order to survive, the organism had to develop effective mechanisms to sense and respond to such changes. When cells are faced with a hypertonic environment a complex response is triggered. It starts with signal sensing and transduction and leads to changes in cell shape, the cytoskeleton, transport processes, metabolism and gene expression. Certain aspects of the Dictyostelium osmotic stress response have been elucidated, however, no comprehensive picture was available up to now.
To better understand the D. discoideum response to hyperosmotic conditions, we performed gene expression profiling using DNA microarrays. The transcriptional profile of cells treated with 200 mM sorbitol during a 2-hour time course revealed a time-dependent induction or repression of 809 genes, more than 15% of the genes on the array, which peaked 45 to 60 minutes after the hyperosmotic shock. The differentially regulated genes were applied to cluster analysis and functional annotation using gene GO terms. Two main responses appear to be the down-regulation of the metabolic machinery and the up-regulation of the stress response system, including STATc. Further analysis of STATc revealed that it is a key regulator of the transcriptional response to hyperosmotic shock. Approximately 20% of the differentially regulated genes were dependent on the presence of STATc.
At least two signalling pathways are activated in Dictyostelium cells subjected to hypertonicity. STATc is responsible for the transcriptional changes of one of them.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Differential gene expression of Dictyostelium discoideum after infection with Legionella pneumophila was investigated using DNA microarrays. Investigation of a 48 h time course of infection revealed several clusters of co-regulated genes, an enrichment of preferentially up- or downregulated genes in distinct functional categories and also showed that most of the transcriptional changes occurred 24 h after infection. A detailed analysis of the 24 h time point post infection was performed in comparison to three controls, uninfected cells and co-incubation with Legionella hackeliae and L. pneumophilaDeltadotA. One hundred and thirty-one differentially expressed D. discoideum genes were identified as common to all three experiments and are thought to be involved in the pathogenic response. Functional annotation of the differentially regulated genes revealed that apart from triggering a stress response Legionella apparently not only interferes with intracellular vesicle fusion and destination but also profoundly influences and exploits the metabolism of its host. For some of the identified genes, e.g. rtoA involvement in the host response has been demonstrated in a recent study, for others such a role appears plausible. The results provide the basis for a better understanding of the complex host-pathogen interactions and for further studies on the Dictyostelium response to Legionella infection.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The social amoebae are exceptional in their ability to alternate between unicellular and multicellular forms. Here we describe the genome of the best-studied member of this group, Dictyostelium discoideum. The gene-dense chromosomes of this organism encode approximately 12,500 predicted proteins, a high proportion of which have long, repetitive amino acid tracts. There are many genes for polyketide synthases and ABC transporters, suggesting an extensive secondary metabolism for producing and exporting small molecules. The genome is rich in complex repeats, one class of which is clustered and may serve as centromeres. Partial copies of the extrachromosomal ribosomal DNA (rDNA) element are found at the ends of each chromosome, suggesting a novel telomere structure and the use of a common mechanism to maintain both the rDNA and chromosomal termini. A proteome-based phylogeny shows that the amoebozoa diverged from the animal-fungal lineage after the plant-animal split, but Dictyostelium seems to have retained more of the diversity of the ancestral genome than have plants, animals or fungi.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Enaptin belongs to a family of recently identified giant proteins that associate with the F-actin cytoskeleton as well as the nuclear membrane. It is composed of an N-terminal alpha-actinin type actin-binding domain (ABD) followed by a long coiled coil rod and a transmembrane domain at the C-terminus. The ABD binds to F-actin in vivo and in vitro and leads to bundle formation. The human Enaptin gene spreads over 515 kb and gives rise to several splicing isoforms (Nesprin-1, Myne-1, Syne-1, CPG2). The longest assembled cDNA encompasses 27,669 bp and predicts a 1014 kDa protein. Antibodies against the ABD of Enaptin localise the protein at F-actin-rich structures throughout the cell and in focal contacts as well as at the nuclear envelope. In COS7 cells, the protein is also present within the nuclear compartment. With the discovery of the actin-binding properties of Enaptin and the highly homologous Nuance, we define a family of proteins that integrate the cytoskeleton with the nucleoskeleton.
Experimental Cell Research 06/2004; 295(2):330-9. · 3.56 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genome of the lower eukaryote Dictyostelium discoideum comprises six chromosomes. Here we report the sequence of the largest, chromosome 2, which at 8 megabases (Mb) represents about 25% of the genome. Despite an A + T content of nearly 80%, the chromosome codes for 2,799 predicted protein coding genes and 73 transfer RNA genes. This gene density, about 1 gene per 2.6 kilobases (kb), is surpassed only by Saccharomyces cerevisiae (one per 2 kb) and is similar to that of Schizosaccharomyces pombe (one per 2.5 kb). If we assume that the other chromosomes have a similar gene density, we can expect around 11,000 genes in the D. discoideum genome. A significant number of the genes show higher similarities to genes of vertebrates than to those of other fully sequenced eukaryotes. This analysis strengthens the view that the evolutionary position of D. discoideum is located before the branching of metazoa and fungi but after the divergence of the plant kingdom, placing it close to the base of metazoan evolution.