Characteristics of a BHK cell variant defective in the cell‐substratum contact process

Y. Shiba, F. Grinnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In this paper we document the phenotypic characteristics of a novel BHK cell adhesion variant designated FN‐2. Unlike parental cells, FN‐2 cells did not attach to fibronectin (pFN)‐coated dishes, even after 4‐hr incubations on dishes treated with 100 μg/ml of pFN. Mixing experiments with the variant and parental cells revealed that the parental cells attached normally in the presence of a ninefold excess of variant cells and the variant cells failed to attach in the presence of a ninefold excess of parental cells. Therefore, the defect in FN‐2 cells could not be explained by secretion of a factor inhibiting attachment or lack of secretion of a factor required for attachment. Also, the inability of FN‐2 cells to attach to pFN‐coated dishes could not be explained by an absence of cell pFN receptors since the variant cells bound normal numbers of small (ca. 0.8 μm) pFN‐coated latex beads, although they phagocytosed the beads poorly compared to parental cells. Also, the variant cells were not able to bind large (5.7 or 16.8 μm) pFN‐coated beads. When tested on dishes coated with ligands that, unlike fibronectin, have a high affinity for cell surface receptors, e.g., lectins and anti‐BHK antibodies, FN‐2 cells were observed to attach at a rate similar to that of parental cells but spread much more slowly. The phenotypic characteristics of FN‐2 cells suggest that they are deficient in what previously has been called the “cell contact” process in cell adhesion. It is proposed that the cell contact process is the initial formation by an individual cell of a sufficient number of cell‐substratum bonds to resist the shear forces operationally used to define “attachment,” and that more cell‐substratum bonds are necessary for cell attachment to large substrata (dishes or large beads) than for attachment to small substrata (small beads). The molecular defect in FN‐2 cells was studied by electroblotting analysis. A high molecular weight (ca. 370 kd) glycoprotein detected by blotting with anti‐BHK antibodies and ConA that was present in parental cell membranes was reduced or absent in the variant cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-455
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of cellular physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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