Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.435, No.1, 88-93, 2013
Switch-like reprogramming of gene expression after fusion of multinucleate plasmodial cells of two Physarum polycephalum sporulation mutants
Nonlinear dynamic processes involving the differential regulation of transcription factors are considered to impact the reprogramming of stem cells, germ cells, and somatic cells. Here, we fused two multinucleate plasmodial cells of Physarum polycephalum mutants defective in different sporulation control genes while being in different physiological states. The resulting heterokaiyons established one of two significantly different expression patterns of marker genes while the plasmodial halves that were fused to each other synchronized spontaneously. Spontaneous synchronization suggests that switch-like control mechanisms spread over and finally control the entire plasmodium as a result of cytoplasmic mixing. Regulatory molecules due to the large volume of the vigorously streaming cytoplasm will define concentrations in acting on the population of nuclei and in the global setting of switches. Mixing of a large cytoplasmic volume is expected to damp stochasticity when individual nuclei deliver certain RNAs at low copy number into the cytoplasm. We conclude that spontaneous synchronization, the damping of molecular noise in gene expression by the large cytoplasmic volume, and the option to take multiple macroscopic samples from the same plasmodium provide unique options for studying the dynamics of cellular reprogramming at the single cell level. (C) 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.