Previous studies have shown that the senescent phenotype is dominant with respect to DNA synthesis in fusions between late passage and actively replicating human diploid fibroblasts. Brief postfusion treatments with the protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide (CHX) or puromycin have been found to significantly delay (by 24-48 h) the inhibition of entry into DNA synthesis of young nuclei in heterokaryons after fusion with senescent cells. A significant fraction of the senescent nuclei incorporated tritiated thymidine in CHX-treated heterokaryons. The optimal duration of exposure to CHX was 1-3 h immediately after fusion, although treatments beginning as late as 9 h after fusion elevated the heterokaryon labeling index. Prefusion treatments with CHX were without a significant effect. These results are consistent with the interpretation that regulatory cell cycle inhibitor(s) which are dependent upon protein synthesis may be present in heterokaryons between senescent and actively replicating cells.

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