Detection of transformed cells using a fluorescent probe: The molecular basis for the differential reaction of fluorescamine with normal and transformed cells
Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
Normal and transformed fibroblasts can be discriminated by a flow cytometry assay on the basis of their differential reaction with fluorescamine. The cause of altered reactivity of transformed cells with this fluorescent probe has been investigated by a detailed analysis of its reaction with chicken embryo fibroblasts transformed by a temperature sensitive mutant of Rous sarcoma virus. The subcellular distribution of fluorescent adducts characterized by cell fractionation and gel electrophoresis procedures supports the hypothesis that transformed cells possess a surface barrier which decreases the accessibility of fluorescamine to reactive macromolecules. The barrier has been identified as being composed at least partly of hyaluronic acid, because of the ability of purified and specific hyaluronidase (from Streptomyces hyalurolyticus) to modulate the response of transformed cells to fluorescamine. Enzyme treatment of transformed cells prior to reaction with fluorescamine causes them to resemble nontransformed cells both in the nature of components labeled and in their fluorescence intensity. It is suggested that fluorescamine monitors an altered surface hyaluronic acid composition which occurs upon transformation. Its significance is discussed in terms of the known physical properties of the molecule and the finding that it is an early event in the process of transformation.