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Periodic events and cell cycle regulation in the plasmodia of Physarum polycephalum

Periodic events and cell cycle regulation in the plasmodia of Physarum polycephalum

Journal of Biosciences (Bangalore) 20(1): 105-139

The multinucleated plasmodia of Physarum polycephalum, a myxomycete, have been extensively used in cell cycle studies. The natural synchrony of mitosis and DNA synthesis, easy culture methods, the ready fusions obtainable between plasmodia, and the amenability to phase specific studies, employing physical and chemical perturbers, are some of the attractive features of this organism. Because of the absence of a G1 phase in the plasmodia, there is a crowding of cell cycle specific marker events at the G2/M boundary, which reflect features of both the G2/M and the G1/S boundaries of a typical eukaryotic cell. Prominent among these are the synthesis and overall activity of thymidine kinase, the co-triggering of tubulin and histone genes, translation of their mRNA, the organization and duplication of the microtubular organizing centres of the mitotic spindle and the triggering of cdc 2 kinase activity. These above events have not only served as good markets to monitor the progress of the plasmodial cell cycle, but have also been fairly thoroughly analysed by means of specific perturbers such as DNA synthesis inhibitors, antimicrotubular drugs, UV-irradiation, heat-shock etc. Along with fusion studies, these perturbation studies have been helpful in the formulation of various models on regulation of mitosis. These above aspects as well as prospects for future studies employing this organism are discussed.

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Related references

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