During their life cycle, amebae of the cellular slime mould Dictyostelium discoideum aggregate to form multicellular structures in which differentiation takes place. Aggregation depends upon the release of chemotactic signals of 3',5'-cAMP from aggregation centers. In response to the signals, aggregating amebae elongate, actively more toward the attractive source, and may be easily identified from the other cells because of their polarized appearance. To examine the role of cytoskeletal components during ameboid locomotion, immunofluorescence microscopy with antibodies to actin, myosin, and to a microtubule-associated component was used. In addition, rhodamine-labeled phallotoxin was employed. Actin and myosin display a rather uniform distribution in rounded unstretched cells. In polarized locomoting cells, actin fluorescence (due to both labeled phallotoxin and specific antibody) is prevalently concentrated in the anterior pseudopod while myosin fluorescence appears to be excluded from the pseudopod. Similarly, microtubules in locomoting cells are excluded from the leading pseudopod. The cell nucleus is attached to the microtubule network by way of a nucleus-associated organelle serving as a microtubule-organizing center and seems to be maintained in a rather fixed position by the microtubules. These findings, together with available morphological and biochemical evidences, are consistent with a mechanism in which polymerized actin is moved into the pseudopod through its interaction with myosin at the base of the pseudopod. Microtubules, apparently, do not actively participate in movement but seem to behave as anchorage structures for the nucleus and possibly other cytoplasmic organelles.

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