Biology and Chemistry of Eukaryotic Cell Surfaces by E.Y. C. Lee

By E.Y. C. Lee

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There are two distinct mechanisms postulated for the process of cell aggregation. Trinkhaus and Lenz (k6) studied the process of sorting out in a mixed cell population and concluded that no chemical mediator was responsible for the observed cellular aggregation and segregation. In a more recent study Merrell and Glaser (1+7) showed that specific recognition sites existed on plasma membranes isolated from embryonic chick neural, retinal and cerebellum cells. No evidence for the existence of an aggregation factor was found.

Scatchard plots of binding data obtained under these conditions revealed a number of about 5x10^ cyclic-AMP binding sites per aggregationcompetent cell. l), which is in accord with the increased chemotactic sensitivity of aggregationcompetent cells (4). 50 BIOLOGY AND CHEMISTRY OF EUCARYOTIC CELL SURFACES The association of the binding sites with an effectorhydrolysing enzyme relates the cyclic-AMP receptor system to the synaptic acetylcholine/cholinesterase system. Like the cholinesterase, the phosphodiesterase functions in terminating the signal.

These cells are characterized by their abilities to associate into stream-like assemblies by cell-to-cell adhesion, with a preference for adhesion at the tips of the elongated cells; to respond chemotactically to cyclic AMP with much greater sensitivity than in the growth-phase (4); and to propagate chemotactic pulses from cell to cell in a wave-like pattern (5, 6, 7 ) , probably again by means of cyclic AMP as a transmitter (8). In this paper we discuss molecular changes of the plasma membrane as an expression of cell differentiation to aggregation-competence, and as a possible basis of the ability for cell-to-cell adhesion and cyclic-AMP reception.

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