The effect of the potent tumor promoter phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) on collagen synthesis, a differentiated property of chick embryo fibroblasts, was examined. Collagen synthesis, as measured by the rate of formation of [3H]hydroxyproline from [3H]proline, was found to be decreased in cells treated with PMA but not in cells treated with the parent alcohol phorbol. The decrease in collagenase-sensitive proteins was confirmed by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of cell lysates, indicating that the decrease could not be ascribed simply to an effect on prolyl hydroxylase. Although a decrease in collagen synthesis was observed after one day, five days were required for a maximal reduction to 20% of that of dimethyl sulfoxide-treated controls. The effect of PMA on collagen synthesis was reversible. It was therefore not the result of a permanent transformation of the cells or of the selection of a population of cells with a reduced capacity for collagen synthesis. Collagen synthesis was decreased in chick embryo fibroblasts transformed by Rous sarcoma virus. Treatment of these cells with PMA for 5 days brought about a further decrease to 50% of the level in dimethyl sulfoxide-treated transformed controls.

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This research was supported by Grants CA 18294 and CA 22895 from the National Cancer Institute.

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