Although muscle cell fusion was shown to be an energy-requiring process, release of myoblasts from an EGTA fusion block could be accomplished with Earle's balanced salt solution (containing 1.8 mM Ca++) free of glucose or any other energy-produced metabolite. The effect of concanavalin A, abrin, and the lectins from wheat germ, soybean, and Lens culinaris on myoblast fusion was examined with synchronized myoblast cultures upon release from fusion block. At a concentration of 15 mug/ml, these lectins were found to inhibit the fusion process to the extent of 62%, 41%, 32%, 8%, and 19%, respectively. Concanavalin A inhibition could be prevented by alpha-methyl-D-mannoside. The inhibitory effect of all the lectins except abrin could be reversed by changing to the normal, serum-containing medium. The number of binding sites was 3.4 X 10(7), 6.1 X 10(7), and 1.7 X 10(6), respectively. Although myoblasts were found to have about twice as many binding sites for wheat germ agglutinin as for concanavalin A, concanavalin A was determined to be twice as effective as wheat germ agglutinin as an inhibitor of myoblast fusion. These findngs raise the possibility that specific cell surface glycoproteins may be an important factor in this process.

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