Starved Dictyostelium amoebae continuously change their shape and they are elongated along the front-rear axis during locomotion. In contrast, we found that disruption of the amiB gene, which had been identified as a gene required for the aggregation process during development, caused these cells to move in a manner similar to fish keratocytes. Starved amiB- cells were elongated laterally and had one large lamellipodium along the front side arc of the cell. These cells moved unidirectionally for long distances maintaining the half-moon shape, and this movement followed the predictions of the graded radial extension model, which was originally developed to describe the keratocyte movements. Furthermore, the distributions of actin, Arp2, and myosin II in amiB- cells were similar to those in keratocytes. Therefore, locomotion by keratocytes and amiB- cells appears to be driven by similar mechanisms of cytoskeletal regulation. Double knockout cells lacking both AmiB and myosin II were still able to move unidirectionally in a keratocyte-like manner, although the frequency of those movements was lower. Thus, myosin II is dispensable for the unidirectional movement, though it likely functions in the maintenance of the characteristic half-moon shape. This mutant cell can be a useful tool for further molecular genetic analysis of the mechanism of cell locomotion. Cell Motil.
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