Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 12th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Working Together
03 April 2012

Working Together

Dictyostelium discoideum or slime mold, is an amoeba; a single-celled organism, which spends most of its life on a diet of soil bacteria. Faced with famine, it has the unusual ability to form a ‘social’ structure to escape starvation. Amoebas clump together to form a 'slug' (bottom, left) that moves towards light. When the slug stops the cell-collective forms a fruiting body (far right), in which some cells die causing their companions to distribute widely (sporulation), in search of a better place to live. Dictyostelium is also a useful model organism. Many aspects of cellular biology in scenarios of health, disease and development depend on the ability of individual cells to communicate with their neighbours like these amoebas do. Many slime mold genes have human counterparts, so this amoeba can be used to investigate genes and test drugs of potential benefit to human health.

Written by Mary-Clare Hallsworth

  • Copyright M.J. Grimson & R.L. Blanton
  • Biological Sciences Electron Microscopy Laboratory, Texas Tech University.

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.