Differences in cell morphology, concanavalin A-induced receptor redistributions, and the cooperativity of the inhibition of 5'-nucleotidase (AMPase) by concanavalin A (Con A) have been investigated in ascites sublines of the 13762 rat mammary adenocarcinoma cells treated with microfilament- and microtubule-perturbing drugs. By scanning electron microscopy MAT-C1 cells exhibit a highly irregular surface, covered with microvilli extending as branched structures from the cell body. MAT-A, MAT-B, and MAT-B1 cells have a more normal appearance, with unbranched microvilli, ruffles, ridges, and blebs associated closely with the cell body. MAT-C cells have an intermediate morphology. Treatment of MAT-A, MAT-B, or MAT-B1 cells with Con A causes rapid redistribution of Con A receptors. Both cytochalasins and colchicine cause alternations in the receptor redistributions. Receptors on MAT-C1 cells are highly resistant to redistribution, even in the presence of cytoskeletal perturbant drugs. The cooperativity of the inhibition of AMPase by Con A was investigated in MAT-A and MAT-C1 cells. Untreated cells exhibit no cooperativity. If either subline is treated with colchicine, cytochalasin B or D, or dibucaine, cooperativity is observed. Lumicolchicine has no effect. Theophylline or dibutyryl cyclic AMP prevents the effects of either colchicine or cytochalasin. The concentration required for half-maximal induction of cooperativity is 0.3--0.4 microM for both colchicine and cytochalasin D, which is in the appropriate range for specific microtubule and microfilament disruptions. The effectiveness of the cytochalasins (E greater than D greater than B) is consistent with their known effects on microfilaments. No direct correlation was observed between the induction of cooperativity and drug-induced changes in Con A receptor redistribution or cell morphology. The morphology of MAT-A cells is grossly altered by cytochalasins or dibucaine and somewhat less by colchicine. MAT-C1 cells exhibit more minor alterations in morphology as a result of these drug treatments. The results of this study indicate that the inhibition of AMPase, which is a Con A receptor, is a different process from the redistribution of the bulk of the Con A receptors, possibly short range membrane interactions rather than global effects on the cell.

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