Fibroblast surface antigen (SFA) is a high molecular weight protein antigen, first shown on the surface of cultured fibroblasts in fibrillar structures. It is shed to the extracellular medium and also present in the circulation (serum and plasma). Fibroblasts transformed by tumor viruses produce SFA but do not retain it on cell surface. In this report we show that SFA is also present in cultured nonestablished astroglial cells. The glial and fibroblast SFAs are immunologically indistinguishable. Glial cells (three different nonestablished lines) contain more SFA per milligram cellular protein than fibroblasts. SFA was located on cell surface in fibrillar striae that frequently extended out from the cell body. Fluorescence was also found intracellularly in the cytoplasm. Malignant gliomas (astrocytomas) established to grow in culture from human tumor material produced SFA into the growth medium but had very little (lines U-105 MG and U-343 MG) or no detectable (lines U-118 MG, U-251 MG, and U-343 MG-a) cell surface SFA. In cultures of the glioma cells many cells, in particular those that appeared to be in the telophase stage, stained strongly positive for intracellular cytoplasmic SFA. These data demonstrate that similar to fibroblasts transformed experimentally by oncogenic viruses, cells grown from naturally occurring human tumors (glioblastomas) produce SFA but lose ability to retain it on cell surface.

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