Communication between normal and enzyme deficient cells in tissue culture

R. P. Cox, Marjorie R. Krauss, M. E. Balis, J. Dancis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Correction of certain mutant phenotypes by intimate contact with normal cells, i.e. 'metabolic cooperation', is an easily studied form of cell communication. Metabolic cooperation between normal cells and mutant cells deficient in hypoxanthine-guanine or adenine phosphoribosyl transferase (HGPRTase and APRTase respectively) appears to be the result of transfer of the enzyme product, nucleotide or nucleotide derivative, from normal to mutant cells. This process shows selectivity in that mutant derivatives of mouse L cells are unable to function as recipients of HGPRTase or APRTase products, while hamster and human fibroblasts with these enzyme deficiencies, exhibit correction of the mutant phenotype, when in contact with normal donor cells. There is also selectivity with respect to substances transferred, since other mutant phenotypes, i.e. G-6 PD deficiency, are not corrected by contact with normal cells. Species specificities do not appear to influence metabolic cooperation, therefore heterospecific cell mixtures provide an opportunity to cytologically distinguish cells and study individual cell interactions. Transfer of nucleotide from normal to mutant cells is less dependent on energy production than is the incorporation of radioactive purines into cellular material. The nucleotide translocation mechanism is not susceptible to sulfhydryl blocking agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-268
Number of pages18
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1972

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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