1Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India and 2School of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
Simple organisms are preferred for understanding the molecular and cellular function(s) of complex processes. Dictyostelium discoideum is a lower eukaryote, a protist and a cellular slime mould, which has been in recent times used for various studies such as cell differentiation, development, cell death, stress responses etc. It is a soil amoeba (unicellular) that undertakes a remarkable, facultative shift to multicellularity when exposed to starvation and requires signal pathways that result in alteration of gene expression and finally show cell differentiation. The amoebae aggregate, differentiate and form fruiting bodies with two terminally differentiated cells: the dead stalk (non-viable) and dormant spores (viable). In India, starting from the isolation of Dictyostelium species to morphogenesis, cell signalling and social evolution has been studied with many more new research additions. Advances in molecular genetics make Dictyostelium an attractive model system to study cell biology, biochemistry, signal transduction and many more.