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Determination of the active portion of the folic acid molecule in cellular slime mold chemotaxis.

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  • Research Article
  • Biology


From earlier work it is known that folic acid attracts the amoebae of various species of cellular slime molds (11). Here we have tested a wide variety of pteridines, pyrimidines, and pyrazines to determine what part of the folic acid molecule is chemotactically active. It was shown that the activity lies in the pteridine ring itself. Furthermore, the cell-free supernatants of slime mold amoebae contain an enzyme that renders pterin and folic acid chemotactically inactive, which apparently increases the chemotactic sensitivity of the amoebae to those compounds. Despite the fact that slime mold amoebae secrete small amounts of folic acid-related compounds, there is no evidence that folates are acrasins; rather it is postulated that attraction to folates may be a food-seeking device for the amoebae which prey on folate-secreting bacteria in the soil.

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