A clonally derived amelanotic melanoma cell line repeatedly has been forced to produce pigment by the inhibitor of DNA synthesis, I-ß-D-arabinofuranosylcytosine (ara-C) at sublethal levels. One ara-C-derived melanotic line has been cloned, and has continued to produce pigment for 2 years on normal medium. The inhibitor is most effective when administered to synchronized cells in four pulses on successive days at 1.8 x 10-5 M during the S phase of the cell cycle. Colcemid at a sublethal concentration, and growth on medium solidified with agar also evoked pigment production in this line, but a large number of other inhibitors of biosynthetic processes did not, under the conditions tested. The melanotic lines are active producers of tyrosinase (DOPA oxidase), whereas the amelanotic line produces an inhibitor of tyrosinase activity. Both enzyme and inhibitor are labile at 4° C and -20° C, and decay of the inhibitor in homogenates of amelanotic cells reveals a low level of residual DOPA oxidase activity. The mean population doubling time of a cloned melanotic line is 23 hr, and that of a cloned amelanotic line 16.5 hr. A similar decrease in rate of growth is found in other melanotic lines and is believed to be a significant factor in maintaining this differentiated function. Rapid growth may be related to the production of an inhibitor by the amelanotic cells.

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