Synchronized populations of Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells in confluent culture have been examined by scanning electron microscopy and their surface changes noted as the cells progress through the cycle. During G1 it is characteristic for cells to show large numbers of microvilli, blebs, and ruffles. Except for the ruffles, these tend to diminish in prominence during S and the cells become relatively smooth as they spread thinly over the substrate. During G2 microvilli increase in number and the cells thicken in anticipation of rounding up for mitosis. It appears that the changes observed here reflect the changing capacity of CHO cells during the cycle to respond to contact with other cells in the population, because, as noted in the succeeding paper (Rubin and Everhart), CHO cells in sparse nonconfluent cultures do not show the same wide range of changes during the cell cycle. Normal, nontransformed cells of equivalent type in confluent culture are essentially devoid of microvilli, blebs, and ruffles. The relation of these surface configurations to the internal structure of the cell is discussed.

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