The expression of fibronectin, a cell surface-associated transformation-sensitive glycoprotein, was studied in hetero- and homokaryons of normal and SV40-transformed human fibroblasts. In immunofluorescence, fibroblast homokaryons had an intense surface-associated and intracelluar fibronectin fluorescence similar to that of normal fibroblasts. Transformed cells and their homokaryons had a minimal surface-associated and a weak intracellular fibronectin fluorescence. In heterokaryons formed between transformed and normal fibroblasts, the expression of fibronectin fell within 24 h to the level of the transformed cell homokaryons. The change was detectable already at 3 h after fusion and was gene-dose dependent. These results show that the transformed genotype determines fibronectin expression in the heterokaryons.

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