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Scientists Sequence Genome of Social Amoeba to Study Cellular Motility, Interactions

NEW YORK, May 6 (GenomeWeb News) - An international team of scientists has sequenced the genome of Dictyostelium discoideum, a social amoeba that has the ability to alternate between unicellular and multicellular forms.


Social amoebae are significant because they have greatly contributed to the understanding of cellular motility, signaling, and interaction, the scientists noted in their paper, published in the May 5 issue of Nature.


"Studies in Dictyostelium provided the first descriptions of a eukaryotic chemoattractant and a cell-cell adhesion protein," the scientists wrote.


The genome of D. discoideum encodes approximately 12,500 proteins, the scientists estimated. Many of the genes encode for polyketide synthases and ABC transporters, suggesting an extensive capability for producing and exporting small molecules.


Approximately 100 scientists, led by Ludwig Eichinger of the Universityof Colognein Germany, and Adam Kuspa of the Baylor College of Medicine, were involved in the sequencing effort. The scientists are based in the US, Europeand Japan.

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