Microtubules in normal and transformed BALB 3T3 cells were preserved in a stabilizing medium and measured by a [3H]colchicine-binding tubulin assay, and compared to total cellular tubulin measured under nonstabilizing conditions. Essentially no change in tubulin or microtubule content was seen with changes in cell density or with changes in cellular morphology at various stages of growth of normal or transformed cells or induced by dibutyryl cAMP treatment of transformed cells. Of five cell lines transformed by a variety of agents, four had a significantly higher total tubulin content than untransformed 3T3 cells and all of them had an increased microtubule content. None of the transformed lines had a lower fraction of tubulin recoverable as sedimentable microtubules compared to untransformed cells, and in three of them this fraction was significantly higher. These results establish that microtubules are present in transformed cells to at least the extent (if not greater) than in normal cells but that there are variations in the total amount of tubulin and microtubules as well as the fraction of the total tubulin present as microtubules which are not strictly correlated with transformation or cell morphology.

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