Exposure of BALB/c-3T3 cells (clone A31) to platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) results in a rapid time- and dose-dependent alteration in the distribution of vinculin and actin. PDGF treatment (6-50 ng/ml) causes vinculin to disappear from adhesion plaques (within 2.5 min after PDGF exposure) and is followed by an accumulation of vinculin in punctate spots in the perinuclear region of the cell. This alteration in vinculin distribution is followed by a disruption of actin-containing stress fibers (within 5 to 10 min after PDGF exposure). Vinculin reappears in adhesion plaques by 60 min after PDGF addition while stress fiber staining is nondetectable at this time. PDGF treatment had no effect on talin, vimentin, or microtubule distribution in BALB/c-3T3 cells; in addition, exposure of cells to 5% platelet-poor plasma (PPP), 0.1% PPP, 30 ng/ml epidermal growth factor (EGF), 30 ng/ml somatomedin C, or 10 microM insulin also had no effect on vinculin or actin distribution. Other competence-inducing factors (fibroblast growth factor, calcium phosphate, and choleragen) and tumor growth factor produced similar alterations in vinculin and actin distribution as did PDGF, though not to the same extent. PDGF treatment of cells for 60 min followed by exposure to EGF (0.1-30 ng/ml for as long as 8 h after PDGF removal), or 5% PPP resulted in the nontransient disappearance of vinculin staining within 10 min after EGF or PPP additions; PDGF followed by 0.1% PPP or 10 microM insulin had no effect. Treatment of cells with low doses of PDGF (3.25 ng/ml), which did not affect vinculin or actin organization in cells, followed by EGF (10 ng/ml), resulted in the disappearance of vinculin staining in adhesion plaques, thus demonstrating the synergistic nature of PDGF and EGF. These data suggest that PDGF-induced competence and stimulation of cell growth in quiescent fibroblasts are associated with specific rapid alterations in the cellular organization of vinculin and actin.

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