Unicellular model organisms

Even single-celled organisms can provide good models for studying some aspects of development, particularly with regard to cell differentiation, regulation of gene expression, and even cell-cell communication and pattern formation, for those that can switch to a colonial life style.

In our course, begin with a bacterial model system, Bacillus subtilis. This system introduces the complexities of environmental signaling, regulation of gene expression, cell differentiation, and intercellular communication. Our next model system, budding yeast, familiarizes students with eukaryotic gene expression, and introduces the concept of mRNA transport and localization. The third model organism, the slime mold Dictyostelium discoideum, provides insight into fundamental aspects of multicellularity, such as cell-cell adhesion and pattern formation.




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