Differentiation-inducing factor-1 [1-(3,5-dichloro-2,6-dihydroxy-4-methoxyphenyl)hexan-1-one (DIF-1)] is an important regulator of cell differentiation and chemotaxis in the development of the cellular slime mold Dictyostelium discoideum However, the entire signaling pathways downstream of DIF-1 remain to be elucidated. To characterize DIF-1 and its potential receptor(s), we synthesized two fluorescent derivatives of DIF-1, boron-dipyrromethene (BODIPY)-conjugated DIF-1 (DIF-1-BODIPY) and nitrobenzoxadiazole (NBD)-conjugated DIF-1 (DIF-1-NBD), and investigated their biological activities and cellular localization. DIF-1-BODIPY (5 µM) and DIF-1 (2 nM) induced stalk cell differentiation in the DIF-deficient strain HM44 in the presence of cyclic adenosine monosphosphate (cAMP), whereas DIF-1-NBD (5 µM) hardly induced stalk cell differentiation under the same conditions. Microscopic analyses revealed that the biologically active derivative, DIF-1-BODIPY, was incorporated by stalk cells at late stages of differentiation and was localized to mitochondria. The mitochondrial uncouplers carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone (CCCP), at 25-50 nM, and dinitrophenol (DNP), at 2.5-5 µM, induced partial stalk cell differentiation in HM44 in the presence of cAMP. DIF-1-BODIPY (1-2 µM) and DIF-1 (10 nM), as well as CCCP and DNP, suppressed chemotaxis in the wild-type strain Ax2 in shallow cAMP gradients. These results suggest that DIF-1-BODIPY and DIF-1 induce stalk cell differentiation and modulate chemotaxis, at least in part, by disturbing mitochondrial activity.