Fibroblastic CHO cells readily adhere to fibronectin (Fn) coated substrata. From the parental cell population we have recently selected a series of adhesion variants (ADV cells) that cannot adhere to Fn substrata (Harper and Juliano. 1980. J. Cell. Biol. 87:755-763). However, ADV cells readily adhere to substrata coated with extracellular matrix material (ECM) derived from human diploid fibroblasts by a mechanism that does not involve fibronectin (Harper and Juliano. 1981. Nature (Lond.). 290:136-138). Te Fn-dependent adhesion mechanism of parental cells (type 1 adhesion) and the ECM-dependent adhesion of ADV cells (type II adhesion) can also be discriminated on the basis of their differential sensitivity to proteolysis, with the type II mechanism being far more sensitive. In this communication we report that parental CHO cells possess both type I and type II mechanisms whereas ADV cells possess only the type II mechanism. We also identify a high molecular weight membrane glycoprotein (gp 265) that seems to play a role in type II adhesion. This component is detected by [125I]lactoperoxidase of [3H]borohydride-galactose oxidase labeling of surface proteins in WT and AD cells. Cleavage of gp 265 with low doses of proteases correlates completely with the loss of type II adhesion capacity. Thus CHO cells possess two functionally and biochemically distinct adhesion mechanisms, one involving exogenous Fn and the other mediated by the membrane component gp 265.

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