We have investigated the adhesion and detachment properties of wild-type Chinese hamster cells and of variant lines, which possess altered cell surface glycoproteins as detected by galactose oxidase-[3H]borohydride labeling. The wild-type and variant lines tested all adhered to protein-coated glass surfaces at the same rate; however, the variant cells differed from wild type and from each other in terms of the ease with which they were detached by trypsinization. Morphological differences between the various lines were also apparent. Our results suggest that the carbohydrate moieties of the terminal region of surface glycoproteins are not directly involved in the initial phase of cell-to-substratum attachment, but that they may modulate the proteolytic susceptibility of surface components which are involved in cell detachment.

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