B16 melanoma cell variants were used to determine if the metastatic properties of these cells could be correlated to distinct plasma membrane, microsome, and mitochondrial membrane lipid compositions and membrane-bound enzyme activities in high- and low-metastatic cell variants, respectively. The high-metastatic B16-F10 melanoma cell membranes had lower cholesterol/phospholipid ratios, lower arachidonic acid content, lower polyunsaturated fatty acid content, higher phosphatidylcholine/phosphatidylethanolamine ratios, and higher succinate cytochrome c reductase activity than those of B16-F1 melanoma cell membranes. No differences in cholesterol/phospholipid ratio were noted in the mitochondria. Na+-K+-adenosinetriphosphatase activity and solubility of 5′-nucleotidase activity were also similar. The data indicate that the membrane lipid composition of B16-F10 melanoma cells is distinct from that of B16-F1 melanoma cells and may help to elucidate the molecular basis for the different metastatic properties of these cell lines in vivo.

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This investigation was supported primarily by Grant CA 24339 from the USPHS and, in part, by Grant GM 31651.

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