Cell-to-cell communication was characterized in prefusion chick embryo myoblast cultures, and it was determined that the prefusion myoblasts can interact via gap junctions, ionic coupling, and metabolic coupling. The biological relevance of this communication was supported by the detection of gap junctions between myoblasts in embryonic muscle. Communication was also examined in fusion-arrested cultures to determine its potential relationship to fusion competency. In cultures that were fusion arrested by treatment with either 1.8 mM ethyleneglycolbis-(beta-aminoethyl ether)N,N'-tetraacetic acid (EGTA), 3.3 X 10(-6) M 5-bromodeoxyuridine (BUdR), or 1 microgram/ml cycloheximide (CHX), both gap junctions and ionic coupling were present. Therefore, it is possible to conclude that cell communication is not a sufficient property by itself, to generate fusion between myob-asts. The potential role of communication in myogenesis is discusssed with respect to these observations.

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