The metabolism of phosphatidylinositol (PI) and related intermediates was studied in uninfected and Rous sarcoma virus-(RSV) infected chicken embryo fibroblasts (CEFs). Cells infected with wild-type RSV exhibited twofold increases in steady-state concentrations of inositol trisphosphate (IP3) and inositol bisphosphate (IP2) as compared to uninfected CEFs. In addition, increased concentrations of IP3 and IP2 were observed in CEFs infected with the RSV temperature-sensitive transformation mutant NY72-4 when maintained at the permissive temperature (35 degrees C) for greater than 24 h. Slight increases were observed in the amounts of inositol lipids in RSV-transformed cells. Phosphoinositol metabolic changes were related to transformation and not to viral infection since CEFs infected with NY72-4, maintained at the nonpermissive temperature (41.5 degrees C), revealed amounts of phosphoinositols similar to that of uninfected cells. CEFs infected with a transformation-defective virus exhibited PI metabolic changes intermediate between those of transformed and nontransformed cells. NY72-4 CEF exhibited no increase in phosphoinositol concentrations before 8 h incubation at 35 degrees C, indicating that the transformation-specific changes in inositol metabolism were a delayed event. Furthermore, inositol turnover was not activated during this time. In contrast to the case of inositol metabolism, significant increases in diacylglycerol (DAG) concentrations were observed within 15-30 min after shift of NY72-4 CEFs to 35 degrees C. These findings suggest that (a) the major changes in inositol metabolism are specific for RSV-transformed cells; (b) transformation-specific changes in phosphoinositol content in RSV-infected CEFs are not an early effect of the expression of pp60v-src; and (c) increases in the DAG content of transformed cells occur before changes in inositol metabolism, indicating that DAG may be derived from other lipid sources.

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