The effects of glycosylation inhibitors on the proliferation of SV40-transformed 3T3 cells (SV-3T3) were examined in vitro. Whereas swainsonine and castanospermine, which inhibit distal steps in the glycosylational processing, exerted marginal or no effects on cell proliferation, a proximal inhibitor, tunicamycin, efficiently decreased the rate of DNA synthesis and also inhibited the activity of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA (HMG-CoA) reductase. The inhibitory effects of tunicamycin on cell proliferation could be partially reversed by addition of dolichol, a metabolite in the pathway regulated by HMG-CoA reductase. This finding suggests that tunicamycin exerts at least one of its effects on cell proliferation by modulating the activity of HMG-CoA reductase.

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