Monday, December 11, 2023

488 - Social Slimes Synchronize Sorties

Fonticula alba
By Toret et al. 2022
Curr Biol 32:1962
CC BY 4.0

This episode: Slime mold amoebas Fonticula alba have interesting and unique foraging and reproductive behaviors!
Download Episode (7.3 MB, 10.6 minutes)

Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Cajanus cajan Panzee virus

How did life develop from single-celled organisms acting independently into the complex, multicellular organisms we see and are today? Although it is difficult to look back through time to study how ancient organisms may have developed along this path, it is possible to investigate modern organisms that occupy a zone in between single-celled and multicellular, to see if we can get some hints to our own development, and also learn about some interesting microbes along the way!

This study into the social amoeba, or slime mold, Fonticula alba, finds that the individual amoebal cells in a population join together into collectives and break apart into individuals at different stages of their complex life cycle, depending on the status of the bacteria around them that they forage as prey. The investigators tease out the various pathways taken by these amoebas.

Journal Paper:

Toret C, Picco A, Boiero-Sanders M, Michelot A, Kaksonen M. 2022. The cellular slime mold Fonticula alba forms a dynamic, multicellular collective while feeding on bacteria. Curr Biol 32:1961-1973.e4.

Post questions or comments here or email to Thanks for listening!

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Android, or RSS. Support the show at Patreon, or check out the show at Twitter or Facebook.