Pederine, a natural product extracted from beetles, induces cell fusion among human skin fibroblasts grown in tissue culture. Heterokaryons are produced when pederine is added to mixtures of human diploid fibroblasts and HeLa cells. The efficiency of cell fusion exceeds that achieved with other available agents. The technique is simple and the results are reproducible. Cells exposed to pederine under conditions that cause fusion retain their growth potential, which indicates that the treatment does not damage the cells. The technique should prove useful in research into mechanisms of membrane fusion, as well as research in which cell fusion is used as an investigative tool. Lysolecithin is believed to induce cell fusion by perturbing the molecular structure of cellular membranes. Pederine is more effective at concentrations less than one thousandth that of lysolecithin. The mechanism of pederine-induced cell fusion may provide insight into the physiologic processes which maintain membrane integrity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health