Differences in the distribution of plasma membrane intramembranous particles (PMP) have been demonstrated in normal and transformed fibroblasts using freeze fracture and electron microscopy. Transformed 3T3 cells contain randomly distributed PMP and contact-inhibited 3T3 cells have aggregated PMP when frozen in medium, glycerol, sucrose, or following stabilization in 1 % formaldehyde. To define some of the mechanisms controlling the organization of PMP in this system we have examined the effects of microtubule disruptive drugs including vinblastine sulfate and colchicine on SV3T3 cells. These drugs were observed to induce a dose- and time-dependent aggregation of PMP at concentrations between 10-9 and 10-5 M. These results suggest that modulation of PMP distribution in these cells may be influenced by an interaction of microtubules with plasma membrane components. However, the observation that lumicolchicine, a derivative of colchicine which does not disrupt microtubules, also promotes PMP aggregation, suggests that these drugs may also have a primary effect on the plasma membrane in addition to the disruption of microtubules. This is supported by the observation that reduced temperature (4 °C) which is known to disrupt microtubules fails to induce PMP aggregation in SV3T3 cells, suggesting the hypothesis that changes in the interaction of plasma membrane or plasma membrane associated constituents may control the distribution of PMP in this cell system.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This studv was suonorted bv erant CA-13458 and contract CPI33357 from the USPHS, and grants from the Minnesota American Cancer Society and the Minnesota Leukemia Foundation and Minnesota Medical Foundation.