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The shape-shifting superhero: Dictyostelium discoideum

The shape-shifting superhero: Dictyostelium discoideum

Rafiq, Mehak and Thompson, Elinor ORCID: 0000-0002-6434-9290 (2014) The shape-shifting superhero: Dictyostelium discoideum. Microbiology Today, 41 (1). pp. 16-19. ISSN 1464-0570

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Dictyostelium discoideum is one of the social amoebae, a group of fascinating eukaryotic microbes with superhero, shape-shifting qualities, which is able to switch between a unicellular and a multicellular existence.
A hint at the developmental plasticity of social amoebae is the traditional classification according to the morphology of their multicellular fruiting bodies. The genus Dictyostelium typically develops unbranched fruiting bodies, so the name is derived from stelium (tower), along with dicty (net-like), these being phases of the multicellular and unicellular life habits, respectively. The archaic name for these amoebae is ‘slime mould’, a term that provokes the same grimaces in the Dicty research community as seen in cyanobacteria researchers when they hear the words ‘blue-green algae’. Dictyosteliida form a branch of eukaryotes separate from the fungi, and from plants and animals. Lacking a cell wall, they do resemble animal cells in organisation, except for the presence of a contractile vacuole, and many features of Dictyostelium make the genus a useful eukaryotic model in molecular biological and biomedical research.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: [1] Paper published in the February 2014 issue of Microbiology Today. This issue focuses on microbial 'superheroes.'
Uncontrolled Keywords: Dictyostelium, biomedical model organism, development, life cycle, amoeba
Subjects: Q Science > QR Microbiology
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > School of Science (SCI)
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Last Modified: 15 Jul 2020 17:25

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