Acronycine, a lipophilic, antineoplastic alkaloid, was found to cause swelling and destruction of Golgi complexes and, less consistently, of mitochondria, in suspension cultures of L5178Y murine leukemia cells and in cell layer cultures of cervical carcinoma (C-4 II), melanoma (HFH-18), and SV40-induced hamster tumor cells. Delayed effects of the drug include cellular swelling, binucleation, reduced adhesion to substrata and to other cells, changes in colonial morphology, interference with melanosome dispersion, and cessation of mitotic activity by viable cells at a reduced cell density. The cytological effects of acronycine differ from those of cyclic adenosine 3′,5′-monophosphate and also, at least chronologically, from those of cytochalasin B. It would appear that the alkaloid acts primarily on membranous organelles and that its delayed effects might be due, at least in part, to interference with the structure, function, and/or turnover of cell-surface components.


This work was supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute of Canada and the National Research Council of Canada.

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