Geometric Parameters of Aggregation Waves in Dictyostelium Discoideum
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The dictyostelium discoideum amoebae have been studied as a model system for pattern formation in a biological excitable medium. During the development cycle of this system from an assembly of single cells to a multicellular fruiting body, there is an aggregation phase when the cells start to undergo coherent motion, stimulated by intercellular wave-like propagation of the signal transmitter cyclic AMP. During this phase the majority of the cell population rest in an excitable state but there are groups of cells serving as pacemakers emitting the cAMP pulses which excite neighbouring cells. The response of the excited cells is chemotactic motion along the cAMP gradients. Because the moving cells have a slightly elongated shape while during rest the shape is circular, the light scattering behaviour of the cells depends on their actual state of motion. With a suitable optical set-up these differences can be visualized.
KeywordsSpiral Wave Dictyostelium Discoideum Coherent Motion Dictyostelium Cell Chemical Wave
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