We have investigated the molecular basis of the agglutinability of CHO subclones which respond differentially in terms of morphology and surface architecture in the presence of dB-cAMP in the medium. We have demonstrated that the agglutinability of these subclones with both wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) and concanavalin A (Con A) probably depends on the free lateral mobility of the lectin receptor sites in the plane of the membrane. The nonagglutinable surface architecture seems to depend on the presence in the membrane of a protease-labile peptide(s), which appears to be distinct from the lectin receptors, as well as on continuous protein and RNA synthesis. This dependence on continuous transcription and translation may be related to the maintenance of the protease-labile peptide(s) in such a state as to restrict mobility of the lectin receptors. The surface architecture defined as nonagglutinable also depends on the state of polymerization of the intracellular microtubules and microfilaments. It is suggested that these microskeletal elements serve to anchor the lectin receptors in such a manner as to restrict their mobility and thereby reduce the relative agglutinability of a cell line. We suggest that control of the free mobility of both the Con A and WGA receptor sites is dependent on two constraints, one applied by protease-labile ("surface") membrane components and the other by components of the intracellular microskeletal system.

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