We reported previously that myosins from amoebal and plasmodial stages in the life cycle of Physarum polycephalum differ in the primary structure of heavy chains and phosphorylatable 18000 Mr light chains, while Ca-binding 14000 Mr light chains are common to both myosins (Kohama & Takano-Ohmuro, Proc Jpn acad 60B (1984) 431; Kohama et al., J biol chem 260 (1986) 8022) [15, 16]. We have carried out immunofluorescence microscopical studies upon differentiating cultures of amoebic colonies, which show apogamic amoebo-plasmodial differentiation as follows: Typical amoebae differentiate into mono-nucleate intermediate cells with swollen nuclei and then into two or multi-nucleate young plasmodia (Anderson et al., Protoplasma 89 (1976) 29 . Antibodies against plasmodial myosin heavy chain (PMHC) and 18000 Mr plasmodial myosin light chain (PMLC18) stained intermediate cells and young plasmodia, but not typical amoebae. On the other hand, antibody against amoebal myosin heavy chain (AMHC) stained typical amoebae and intermediate cells-but not young plasmodia. Thus staining was detected using antibodies against both PMHC and AMHC in intermediate cells. Intermediate cells were also stained by antibody against another plasmodium-specific cytoskeletal protein, viz., high molecular weight actin-binding protein (HMWP). We propose that synthesis of myosin subunits switches immediately from amoebal to plasmodial type in mono-nucleate cells with swollen nuclei. This myosin switching is associated with the initiation of HMWP synthesis.
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