Abstract The onset of prestalk differentiation of Dictyostelium discoideum has been thought to be triggered by differentiation inducing factor (DIF), which is secreted by differentiating cells. We characterized the cell-type specific proteins, wst31 (prestalk and stalk specific) and wst34 (stalk specific), using the mutant HM44 which is defective in DIF-production, and examined the effects of DIF and cAMP on the formation of the proteins. In the mutant HM44, wst34 was formed only in the presence of exogenous DIF as reported for other prestalk/stalk markers (e.g. pDd63 and acid phosphatase-2), which indicates the DIF-requirement for this protein. By contrast, the accumulation of wst31 in this mutant occurred in the presence of cAMP regardless of the presence of exogenous DIF. Thus, we propose a new and distinct state (or stage) in prestalk differentiation, where the expression of wst31 occurs but not that of pDd63 or acid phosphatase-2.