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Shortening of the cell cycle and developmental interruption in a Dictyostelium discoideum cell line due to RNAi-silenced expression of allantoicase

Author(s): D.M. Xue and L.S. Hou

The signaling molecules NH3 (unprotonated volatile ammonia), as well as cyclic adenosine monophosphate and differentiationinducing factor, play important roles in the multicellular development of the slime mould Dictyostelium discoideum. One of the downstream metabolic products catalyzed by allantoicase (allC) is ammonia. We observed the role of allC by RNAi-mediated manipulation of its expression. The allC gene of D. discoideum was silenced by RNAi. We found significant downregulation of allC mRNA and protein expression levels. Recombinant allC RNAi mutant cell lines had a shortened cell cycle, a reduction in cell size relative to wild-type cells and interrupted development. We conclude that the normal functions of allC include retarding cell division until a specific cell size is reached and coordinating the progression of development.