The presence of 1.0mm-dibutyryl cyclic AMP (N6,O2′-dibutyryladenosine 3′:5′-cyclic monophosphate) and 1.5mm-theophylline completely inhibits the growth of mouse neuroblastoma N2a cells by 24–36h. When compared with N2a cultures without inhibitors (controls), the proportion of cells in S phase, measured by radioautography with [3H]-thymidine, was decreased from 55 to 12%. In addition, the presence of the inhibitors decreased apparent [3H]fucose incorporation into glycoproteins by 50%, and removing the inhibitors resulted in a rapid recovery of both DNA synthesis and glycoprotein metabolism. Measurement of intracellular acid-soluble radioactive fucose revealed that decreased fucose uptake could account for the apparent change in incorporation. Removing dibutyryl cyclic AMP and theophylline from the medium resulted in a rapid uptake of radioactive fucose to within control values, which illustrated that the inhibitors decreased transport of the carbohydrate, although the cells remained viable. Treatment with dibutyryl cyclic AMP and theophylline also reversibly inhibited glycoprotein degradation. Plasma membranes isolated from growing cells and from growth-inhibited cells labelled with [14C]fucose and [3H]fucose respectively were co-electrophoresed on sodium dodecyl sulphate/polyacrylamide gels. These displayed no apparent differences in synthesis of specific membrane glycoproteins. Electrophoresis of plasma membranes isolated from cultures pulse–chased with [14C]fucose and [3H]fucose was used to discern turnover patterns of specific plasma-membrane glycoproteins. High-molecular-weight glycoproteins exhibited rapid rates of turnover in membranes from growing cells, but moderate turnover rates in growth-inhibited cells and cells reversed from growth inhibition. These data indicate that growth arrest of N2a cells results in alterations in the metabolic turnover of plasma-membrane glycoproteins.

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