Relationship of Adhesiveness of Cells in Culture with Specific Enzyme Activity

L-Glutamine is required by mouse teratoma cells and other mouse ascites tumor cells in the synthesis of complex carbohydrates involved in intercellular adhesion. Since l-glutamine is synthesized by the enzyme glutamine synthetase (GS) (EC, these studies were undertaken to determine if a relationship exists between cellular adhesiveness and GS specific activity. Two types of experiment were performed to examine this relationship. Actinomycin D enhanced both teratoma cell GS specific activity and cellular adhesiveness over controls in batch cultures at confluency. Also, the relationship between cell adhesiveness and GS specific activity during the cell cycle was studied using cell populations synchronized with thymidine plus Colcemid. In these synchronized cultures, cellular adhesiveness displayed an oscillatory pattern with peaks of GS specific activity occurring just prior to peaks of adhesiveness. The levels of GS specific activity and intercellular adhesiveness were enhanced by the addition of hydrocortisone, a steroid known to induce GS specific activity in mouse teratoma cells. These results demonstrate a correlation between GS specific activity and cellular adhesiveness. Based upon previous work which implicates l-glutamine in intercellular adhesion, it is not unreasonable to speculate that GS specific activity and cellular adhesiveness may be causally related.