Using genome-wide microarrays, we recognized 172 genes that are highly expressed at one stage or another during multicellular development of Dictyostelium discoideum. When developed in shaken suspension, 125 of these genes were expressed if the cells were treated with cyclic AMP (cAMP) pulses at 6-min intervals between 2 and 6 h of development followed by high levels of exogenous cAMP. In the absence of cAMP treatment, only three genes, carA, gbaB, and pdsA, were consistently expressed. Surprisingly, 14 other genes were induced by cAMP treatment of mutant cells lacking the activatable adenylyl cyclase, ACA. However, these genes were not cAMP induced if both of the developmental adenylyl cyclases, ACA and ACR, were disrupted, showing that they depend on an internal source of cAMP. Constitutive activity of the cAMP-dependent protein kinase PKA was found to bypass the requirement of these genes for adenylyl cyclase and cAMP pulses, demonstrating the critical role of PKA in transducing the cAMP signal to early gene expression. In the absence of constitutive PKA activity, expression of later genes was strictly dependent on ACA in pulsed cells.