The Shwachman-Bodian-Diamond syndrome gene encodes an RNA-binding protein that localizes to the pseudopod of Dictyostelium amoebae during chemotaxis

Deborah Wessels, Thyagarajan Srikantha, Song Yi, Spencer Kuhl, L. Aravind, David R. Soll

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The Shwachman-Bodian-Diamond syndrome (SBDS) is an autosomal disorder with multisystem defects. The Shwachman-Bodian-Diamond syndrome gene (SBDS), which contains mutations in a majority of SBDS patients, encodes a protein of unknown function, although it has been strongly implicated in RNA metabolism. There is also some evidence that it interacts with molecules that regulate cytoskeletal organization. Recently, it has been demonstrated by computer-assisted methods that the single behavioral defect of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) of SBDS patients is the incapacity to orient correctly in a spatial gradient of chemoattractant. We considered using the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum, a model for PMN chemotaxis, an excellent system for elucidating the function of the SBDS protein. We first identified the homolog of SBDS in D. discoideum and found that the amino acids that are altered in human disease were conserved. Given that several proteins involved in chemotactic orientation localize to the pseudopods of cells undergoing chemotaxis, we tested whether the SBDS gene product did the same. We produced an SBDS-GFP chimeric in-frame fusion gene, and generated transformants either with multiple ectopic insertions of the fusion gene or multiple copies of a non-integrated plasmid carrying the fusion gene. In both cases, the SBDS-GFP protein was dispersed equally through the cytoplasm and pseudopods of cells migrating in buffer. However, we observed differential enrichment of SBDS in the pseudopods of cells treated with the chemoattractant cAMP, suggesting that the SBDS protein may play a role in chemotaxis. In light of these results, we discuss how SBDS might function during chemotaxis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-379
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Jan 2006



  • CAMP chemoattractant
  • Computer-assisted motion analysis
  • Pseudopod localization
  • SBDS gene

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