Extracellular cAMP functions as a primary ligand for cell surface cAMP receptors throughout Dictyostelium discoideum development, controlling chemotaxis and morphogenesis. The developmental consequences of cAMP signaling and the metabolism of cAMP have been studied in great detail, but it has been unclear how cells export cAMP across the plasma membrane. Here we show pharmacologically and genetically that ABC transporters mediate cAMP export. Using an evolutionary-developmental biology approach, we identified several candidate abc genes and characterized one of them, abcB3, in more detail. Genetic and biochemical evidence suggest that AbcB3 is a component of the cAMP export mechanism in D. discoideum development.
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