Motile activities of Dictyostelium discoideum differ from those in Protista or vertebrate animal cells
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Cell movement in the amoebae Dictyostelium discoideum has been examined in media differing in monovalent cation concentration (i.e. Na+ and K+). Under isotonic or even slightly hypertonic conditions, the cells move equally well in solutions in which either potassium or sodium ions dominate. However, in strongly hypertonic solutions the amoebae showed motility in a 2% potassium chloride solution, but remained motionless in a hypertonic 2% sodium chloride solution. This inhibition of D. discoideum amoebae movement in a hypertonic sodium chloride solution was fully reversible. Such behaviour corresponds to that of plant, fungi, and some invertebrate animal cells rather than protozoan or vertebrate cells. These observations suggest that studies using D. discoideum as a model for cell motility in vertebrate animal tissue cells should be considered with caution, and would seem to confirm the classification of cellular slime moulds as related rather to Fungi than to Protista. This also shows that the cell membrane models should consider the asymmetry in sodium /potassium ion concentrations found in vertebrate animal cells as one of various possibilities.
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Wlodzimierz Korohoda, Department of Cell Biology, Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University, Gronostajowa 7, 30-387 Krakow, Poland