Alteration of Sea Urchin Embryo Cell Surface Properties by Mycostatin, a Sterol Binding Antibiotic

Sea urchin embryos incubated in sea water containing mycostatin (MST), a polyene antibiotic, dissociate into single cells. Reaggregation of dissociated sea urchin embryo cells, and uptake of labeled precursors by these cells are also greatly inhibited although O2 consumption is only slightly affected by this compound. It is known that mycostatin binds primarily to membrane sterols and affects only cells containing membrane sterols. Sea urchin cell membranes contain sterols. The effects of mycostatin on cell adhesion, reaggregation, and permeability seen in this study may be a result of an interaction with cell membrane sterols or sterol-associated molecules.