To explore the interaction of tumor promoters and sarcoma virus transformation with cellular regulatory mechanisms, we have studied induction of plasminogen activator synthesis by these agents in a background of changing cyclic nucleotide concentrations. We have confirmed the original report of Wigler and Weinstein (Nature, 259: 232, 1976) that phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate (PMA), a potent tumor promoter, induces high levels of plasminogen activator production by chick embryo fibroblasts. Sarcoma virus transformation sensitizes the fibroblasts by lowering the threshold concentration for response to the action of PMA, and the effects of transformation and PMA on plasminogen activator synthesis are synergistic rather than additive. The plasminogen activators produced in the PMA-, virus-induced, or synergistically stimulated cultures are indistinguishable. Enzyme production in all three conditions is strongly but reversibly inhibited when cyclic nucleotide levels are raised by exposure to cyclic adenosine-3′:5′-monophosphate or cholera toxin. A substantial fraction of the morphological effect that accompanies transformation is not affected by concentrations of cyclic nucleotides that suppress plasminogen activator production, and the two phenomena are therefore at least partially independent expressions of transformation in this system.


This work was supported in part by Grant ACS PDTII from the American Cancer Society and Grant CA-08290 from the National Cancer Institute, NIH, USPHS.

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