Expression of differentiated functions in heterokaryons between skeletal myocytes, adrenal cells, fibroblasts and glial cells

Woodring E. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The regulation of both muscle and adrenal functions was examined in heterokaryons formed by fusing differentiated chick skeletal myocytes to Y1 mouse adrenal cells. Mouse fast skeletal myosin light chain one (LC1) synthesis was induced and acetylcholine receptor expression was maintained at muscle control levels. Steroid secretion, although reduced compared with Y1 × Y1 adrenal homokaryon control fusions, was nonetheless maintained at relatively high levels. Steroid secretion in the myocyte × adrenal heterokaryons was constitutively expressed and was not increased by exposure to either adrenocorticotrophic hormone or db-cAMP. The population of heterokaryons was thus simultaneously expressing both muscle and adrenal functions. The steroid secretion in these heterokaryons was compared to that in heterokaryons formed by fusing Y1 adrenal cells to either chick skin fibroblasts or rat C6 glial cells. Both of these sets of heterokaryons exhibited low baseline levels of steroid secretion that were inducible to control values by ACTH. These results extend previous observations showing that heterokaryons are functionally very different than cell hybrids, and exhibit a variety of phenotypic interactions. Although fibroblasts suppress muscle functions in heterokaryons, they are permissive for adrenal functions. C6 glial cells are permissive for both adrenal and muscle functions, and along with several other neurectodermal derivatives contain an inducible skeletal myosin light chain gene. Finally, myocytes and Y1 adrenal cells are mutually permissive for their differentiated functions, and Y1 adrenal cells contain an inducible myosin light chain gene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-69
Number of pages15
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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