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Phenotypic variability in unicellular organisms: from calcium signalling to social behaviour
Univ Toulouse, CNRS, CRCA, Toulouse, France..
Uppsala Univ, Dept Math, S-75238 Uppsala, Sweden..
Univ Toulouse, CNRS, LAPLACE, Toulouse, France.;CSIC, Cajal Inst, Madrid, Spain..
Ctr Human Genet, Bangalore 560100, Karnataka, India..
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2015 (English)In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences, ISSN 0962-8452, E-ISSN 1471-2954, Vol. 282, no 1819, 20152322Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

Historically, research has focused on the mean and often neglected the variance. However, variability in nature is observable at all scales: among cells within an individual, among individuals within a population and among populations within a species. A fundamental quest in biology now is to find the mechanisms that underlie variability. Here, we investigated behavioural variability in a unique unicellular organism, Physarum polycephalum. We combined experiments and models to show that variability in cell signalling contributes to major differences in behaviour underpinning some aspects of social interactions. First, following thousands of cells under various contexts, we identified distinct behavioural phenotypes: 'slow-regular-social', 'fast-regular-social' and 'fast-irregular-asocial'. Second, coupling chemical analysis and behavioural assays we found that calcium signalling is responsible for these behavioural phenotypes. Finally, we show that differences in signalling and behaviour led to alternative social strategies. Our results have considerable implications for our understanding of the emergence of variability in living organisms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 282, no 1819, 20152322
Keyword [en]
behavioural phenotype, calcium, social behaviour, slime mould, variability
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-276890DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.2322ISI: 000367562500002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-276890DiVA: diva2:903687
EU, European Research Council, IDCAB 220/104702003
Available from: 2016-02-16 Created: 2016-02-16 Last updated: 2016-02-16Bibliographically approved

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Sumpter, David J. T.
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