SUMMARY: A central feature of the processes of aggregation and differentiation in the cellular slime mould is the periodic excitatory cycle. Originally thought to involve primarily fluctuations in cyclic AMP levels, this excitatory cycle has since been shown to involve changes in several other second messengers including cyclic G MP, calcium and inositol trisphosphate. Previous work from this laboratory using specific inhibitors strongly suggested a role for eicosanoids in this stimulus-response process. Production of eicosanoids from fatty acid precursors is an oxygen-consuming process. In this paper, we report on oxygen consumption measurements in intact cells and in cell extracts. We demonstrate the existence of an azide-insensitive component of oxygen consumption which can be stimulated by the addition of arachidonate and other polyunsaturated fatty acids, and at least partially inhibited by meclofenamate and eicosatetraynoic acid, both of which block eicosanoid biosynthesis in higher organisms. These observations provide further evidence for the existence of an eicosanoid-metabolizing system in .


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