Data from: Sentinel cells, symbiotic bacteria, and toxin resistance in the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum
Brock, Debra A.; Callison, William Éamon; Strassmann, Joan E.; Queller, David C. (2016), Data from: Sentinel cells, symbiotic bacteria, and toxin resistance in the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.1cc85
The social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum is unusual among eukaryotes in having both unicellular and multicellular stages. In the multicellular stage, some cells, called sentinels, ingest toxins, waste, and bacteria. The sentinel cells ultimately fall away from the back of the migrating slug, thus removing these substances from the slug. However, some D. discoideum clones called farmers carry commensal bacteria through the multicellular stage while others called non-farmers do not. Farmers profit from their beneficial bacteria. To prevent the loss of these bacteria, we hypothesize that sentinel cell numbers may be reduced in farmers and thus farmers may have a diminished capacity to respond to pathogenic bacteria or toxins. In support, we found that farmers have fewer sentinel cells compared to non-farmers. However, farmers produced no fewer viable spores when challenged with a toxin. These results are consistent with the beneficial bacteria, Burkholderia, providing protection against toxins. The farmers did not vary in spore production with and without a toxin challenge the way the non-farmers did, which suggests the costs of Burkholderia may be fixed while sentinel cells may be inducible. Therefore, the costs for non-farmers are only paid in the presence of the toxin. When the farmers were cured of their symbiotic bacteria with antibiotics, they behaved just like non-farmers in response to a toxin challenge. Thus, the advantages farmers gain from carrying bacteria include not just food and protection against competitors, but also protection against toxins.