We have previously described the isolation of a mutant KB cell (Cyt 1 mutant) resistant to the cytotoxic effect of cytochalasin B (CB). The Cyt 1 mutant carries an altered form of beta-actin (beta'-actin) and lacks normal beta-actin (Toyama, S., and S. Toyama. 1984. Cell. 37:609-614). Increased resistance of the Cyt 1 mutant to CB in vivo is reflected in altered properties of beta'-actin in vitro (Toyama, S., and S. Toyama. 1988. J. Cell Biol. 107:1499-1504). Here, we show that the mutation in beta-actin is solely responsible for the cytochalasin-resistant phenotype of the Cyt mutant. We have isolated a cDNA clone encoding beta'-actin from Cyt 1 cells. Sequence analysis reveals two mutations in the coding region that substitute two amino acid residues (Val139----Met and Ala295----Asp). Expression of the beta'-actin cDNA confers cytochalasin resistance upon transformed cytochalasin-sensitive KB cells. Levels of resistance to CB in the transformed cell clones correlate well with amounts of beta'-actin polypeptide. Both of the two mutations in beta'-actin are necessary for the high level expression of cytochalasin resistance. Overall, we conclude that the primary site of action of cytochalasin on cell motility processes in vivo is actin.

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