The effects of retinoic acid and 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate on the sensitivities of a number of cell lines to the toxins modeccin, abrin, ricin and diphtheria toxin were studied. Retinoic acid and some other retinoids were found to protect a number of the cell lines against the toxins. HeLa cells that were protected bound much more retinoic acid than L-cells that were not protected. The tumour promoter 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate was found to increase the sensitivity of cells to abrin, ricin and modeccin in the absence as well as in the presence of retinoic acid. Neither retinoic acid nor 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate affected the extent of binding and pinocytotic uptake of toxins by the cells. Apparently retinoic acid and 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate interfere with the entry of the toxins through the cell membrane.

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