|Abstract:Starvation for amino acids initiates the developmental program in the cellular slime mold, Dictyostelium discoideum [19, 20]. One of the earliest developmental events is the decline in ribosomal protein synthesis [2, 17, 29, 30]. The ribosomal protein mRNAs are excluded from polysomes with 20 min to 1 h following the removal of nutrients, and their mRNA levels decline sharply at about 9 h into the 24-h developmental cycle [28, 31, 35, 36]. It has been generally assumed that the decline in r-protein mRNA levels during late development reflected a decline in the transcription rate [12, 32, 43]. Here we demonstrate that this is not the case. The transcription rates of three ribosomal protein genes, rpL11, rpL23 and rpS9 as well as an elongation factor 1B gene have been determined during growth and development in Dictyostelium. Throughout growth and development the transcription rate of the ribosomal protein genes remains relatively constant at 0.2%-0.5% of the rate of rRNA transcription while the elongation factor 1B gene is transcribed at 0.4%-0.6% of the rRNA rate. This low but constant transcription rate is in contrast to a spore coat protein gene Psp D, which is transcribed at 6% of the rRNA rate in late developing cells. The elongation factor 1B gene appears to be co-regulated with the ribosomal protein genes both in terms of its transcription rate and mRNA accumulation. Dictyostelium has been a popular model for understanding signal transduction and the growth to differentiation transition, thus it is of significance that the regulation of ribosome biosynthesis in Dictyostelium resembles that of higher eukaryotes in being regulated largely at the post-transcriptional level in response to starvation as opposed to yeasts where the regulation is largely transcriptional .