A heat-sensitive (hs, arrested at 39.5 degrees C, multiplying at 33 degrees C) and a cold-sensitive (cs, arrested at 33 degrees C, multiplying at 39.5 degrees C) cell cycle variant were isolated from an undifferentiated P-815 murine mastocytoma line. At the respective nonpermissive temperature, both the hs and the cs variant cells were reversibly arrested with a DNA content, typical of G1 phase. The cells of two cs variant subclones, when exposed to the nonpermissive temperature of 33 degrees C, formed metachromatically staining granules with an ultrastructure resembling that of mature mast cells. In addition, the cellular 5-hydroxytryptamine content underwent a marked increase, and the cells responded to compound 48/80 by degranulation as described for normal mast cells. On the other hand, in cells of two hs variant subclones, essentially no mast cell granules were detectable at either 33 or 39.5 degrees C. As previously reported, the cs cell cycle variant phenotype is expressed dominantly in heterokaryons obtained by fusing cs with wild-type cells, whereas hs cell cycle variant cells, similar to other hs mutants, were found to behave recessively under these conditions. Thus the state of proliferative quiescence induced in the cs cells at 33 degrees C is qualitatively different from the state of cell cycle arrest observed in hs cells at 39.5 degrees C and may represent a model for proliferative quiescence of differentiated cells in the intact organism.

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