We have carried out a quantitative biochemical and ultrastructural study of tubulin and microtubules in a normal rat kidney (NRK) cell line and its viral transformant (442) in culture. Under equivalent culture conditions, both cell lines contain the same amount of tubulin according to a colchicine-binding assay. The normal and transformed cells differ significantly, however, with respect to the state of organization of their tubulin. Counts of microtubules in sectioned cells indicate that NRK cells have almost twice as many microtubules per unit area of cytoplasm as the 442 cells. Centrifugation studies, on the other hand, show that 442 cells have almost twice as much pelletable tubulin as the NRK cells. We propose, therefore, that the transformed cells contain a large amount of tubulin which is in some alternative aggregate form that is not morphologically detectable as microtubles in the cytoplasm

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