A factor was discovered that markedly enhances the degree of fusion activity between cells of the opposite mating-type strains, MI1 and NC4, in the sexual cycle of Dictyostelium discoideum. This factor, designated cell-fusion inducing factor (CFIF), was detected initially in supernatants taken from 24 h dark-grown mixed cultures of HM1 and NC4 cells, and subsequently shown to be secreted by giant cells - the fusion products of HM1 and NC4 cells. HM1 cells, cultured in the dark at appropriate temperature, normally acquire fusion-competence specific to NC4 cells. The addition of CFIF to such dark-grown HM1 cultures results in a marked increase in their fusion-competence. In addition, when CFIF is added to light-grown HM1 cultures, in which cells normally do not acquire the ability to fuse with NC4 cells, fusion-competence is induced. The fusion-competence of NC4 cells is unaffected by CFIF, being quite high under the culture conditions used here. Experiments, using actinomycin D, daunomycin and cycloheximide showed that the secretion of CFIF from giant cells requires synthesis of RNA and protein. Possibly, cell fusion triggers production of CFIF, which is rapidly released into the external medium.
- © 1983 by Company of Biologists