High doses of Concanavalin A (Con A), which normally inhibit T-lymphocyte stimulation as measured by increases in DNA synthesis, cause these lymphocytes to become committed to mitogenesis while also generating a dominant but reversible negative growth signal. The observed response to the stimulatory signal as measured by the rate of commitment to enter the S phase (i.e., the rate at which the stimulation becomes lectin independent) increases with lectin concentration even in the inhibitory range. The generation of this positive signal is prevented by treating the cells with colchicine. Cells that have become committed but are also simultaneously blocked from entering the S phase by the high doses of Con A can begin synthesizing DNA if the lectin is released by adding a competitive inhibitor of binding. Experiments done in agarose cultures in which lymphocytes are kept from contact with each other suggest that the reversible inhibitory signal is mediated by structures in the individual cells rather than as a result of agglutination. Continuously dividing cells of the lymphoid line P388 are also individually and reversibly inhibited by Con A. These findings are considered in terms of the relation of the inhibitory signal to the microtubular components of cell surface modulating assemblies made up of submembranous arrays of microtubules, microfilaments, and associated proteins.

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