Total Ca content and that fraction of Ca sensitive to removal by the chelator ethylene glycol-bis(β-aminoethyl ether)N,N,N',N'-tetraacetate (EGTA) have been investigated in the mouse 3T3 cell as a function of growth stage, transformation with SV40 virus, and serum levels of the media. Cells were allowed to grow through several doublings in media containing (45)Ca. The cellular content of (45)Ca was used to access total cell Ca. That fraction of (45)Ca removed by EGTA was presumed to represent primarily surface-localized Ca. The data are expressed on a per cell volume basis to compensate for size differences as a function of growth stage and transformation. During exponential growth phase, the 3T3 cell contains 525pmol Ca/μl cell volume. Of this, approx. 457 pmol/μl is not removable by EGTA and, presumably, is cytoplasmically located. This value is in close agreement with previous studies on the HeLa cell (470 pmol Ca/μl cell water after the removal of the surface Ca). The low level of EGTA- removable Ca present in the 3T3 cell during early exponential growth (68 pmol Ca/μl cell volume) increases progressively with increasing cell density, and upon quiescence it is sevenfold greater. In contrast, SV40- transformed 3T3 cells growing exponentially possess total levels of Ca which are approximately two-thirds the levels of the normal 3T3 cell. However, their EGTA-sensitive Ca is not significantly different from that of exponentially growing, normal 3T3 cells. As the transformed cells continue to grow at high density, their total ca and their sensitivity to EGTA do not change, in contrast to the normal 3T3 cell. Thus, an increase in Ca associated with the cell surface appears to be correlated with growth inhibition. This has been investigated further by regulating growth of the normal and transformed cell with alterations in the serum level of the media. In 4 percent calf serum the normal cell is stopped from continued proliferation. Growth stoppage under these conditions is characterized by a nearly fourfold increase in EGTA-removable Ca, similar to the increase observed upon quiescence in depleted 10 percent serum. Similar treatment of the transformed cell does not reduce its growth rate, nor does it significantly alter Ca distribution. However, at 0.5 percent medium serum levels, the SV40 3T3 growth rate is substantially reduced and, under these conditions, EGTA-removable Ca increases twofold.

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