Spatial patterns in the fruiting bodies of the cellular slime mold Polysphondylium pallidum

Edward C. Cox, Fred W. Spiegel, Gerard Byrne, James W. McNally, Leslie Eisenbud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


During morphogenesis in the slime mold Polysphondylium pallidum cell masses are periodically pinched off from the base of the developing sorogen. These masses round up and differentiate into secondary sorogens, which become radially ordered arrays of secondary fruiting bodies called whorls. Here we describe the morphogenesis of P. pallidum and characterize the spacing of whorls along the central stalk of the fruiting body and the spacing of soro-carps within whorls. We find both are highly regular. We propose that the linear spacing of whorls can be accounted for satisfactorily by a model that views the periodic release of cell masses from the base of the developing sorogen as the consequence of an imbalance between forces that orient amoebae toward the tip of the culminating sorogen, and cohesive forces between randomly moving cells in the basal region of the sorogen, which act as a retarding force. The orderly arrangement of fruiting bodies within whorls can be explained most easily by models that employ short-range activation and lateral inhibition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-81
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgemenfa. We are grateful for numerous conversations with John Bonner and Gary Odell. This work was supported by National Institute of General Medical Sciences Training Grant GM07312 (GB), an American Canccr Socicty Fellowship (JGM), National Cancer Institute Training Grant CA0916 (FWS), and research grants to ECC from the Whitehall Foundation and NSP DCB-863 6302.


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