Surface Characteristics of Separated Subpopulations of Mouse Teratocarcinoma Cells

Specific subpopulations of 129/J mouse teratocarcinoma cells were separated by velocity sedimentation in shallow density gradients using unit gravity or centrifugal force. The subpopulations were examined with perspective plots generated by a computer program. These plots permitted 360 ° rotation of the horizontal axis making it possible to examine the symmetry of the major cell populations. The teratoma consistently separated into two major populations of cells: ‘large’ cells and ‘small’ cells. Although the small and large cells bound many of the eight lectins tested, only the large cells agglutinated in the presence of low concentrations of lectins. The large cells, therefore, are more malignant-like than the small cells with respect to their agglutinability characteristics. This work demonstrates that a heterogeneous, in vivo teratocarcinoma tumor can be separated into specific cell populations that clearly differ with respect to certain cell surface characteristics.