Adhesion strategies of Dictyostelium discoideum – a force spectroscopy study†
Biological adhesion is essential for all motile cells and generally limits locomotion to suitably functionalized substrates displaying a compatible surface chemistry. However, organisms that face vastly varying environmental challenges require a different strategy. The model organism Dictyostelium discoideum (D.d.), a slime mould dwelling in the soil, faces the challenge of overcoming variable chemistry by employing the fundamental forces of colloid science. To understand the origin of D.d. adhesion, we realized and modified a variety of conditions for the amoeba comprising the absence and presence of the specific adhesion protein Substrate Adhesion A (sadA), glycolytic degradation, ionic strength, surface hydrophobicity and strength of van der Waals interactions by generating tailored model substrates. By employing AFM-based single cell force spectroscopy we could show that experimental force curves upon retraction exhibit two regimes. The first part up to the critical adhesion force can be described in terms of a continuum model, while the second regime of the curve beyond the critical adhesion force is governed by stochastic unbinding of individual binding partners and bond clusters. We found that D.d. relies on adhesive interactions based on EDL-DLVO (Electrical Double Layer-Derjaguin–Landau–Verwey–Overbeek) forces and contributions from the glycocalix and specialized adhesion molecules like sadA. This versatile mechanism allows the cells to adhere to a large variety of natural surfaces under various conditions.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Recent Open Access Articles