125I-Labeled human transferrin was used to study the binding of transferrin to Colo 320 DM and Colo 205 human cell lines derived from adenocarcinomas of the colon. Although transferrin uptake was greater in both cases at 37° than at 4° it was found that slightly greater than two-thirds of the transferrin associated with the cells at 37° was not bound to surface receptors but rather had been internalized by the cells. Subsequent analysis of true surface binding at 4° by Scatchard analysis allowed determination of the number of transferrin receptors as well as association constants for the interaction. The number of transferrin receptors per cell was found to be inversely related to the cell density of the cultures from which cells were removed for study. Association constants were unaffected by cell density, with average values of 1.2 and 5.4 × 108m-1 obtained for Colo 320 DM and Colo 205, respectively. Additionally, maximum theoretical numbers of receptors of 1.05 × 105/cell for Colo 320 DM and 1.39 × 105/cell for Colo 205 were determined. Furthermore, exposure of Colo 205 cells to three different experimental situations, i.e., 60 Hz-generated electric field only (E+, 300 mA/m2 rms), magnetic field only (M+, 1.0 gauss rms), and combined electric + magnetic fields at these intensities (E+M+), altered the expression of transferrin receptors as compared to a concurrently run unexposed control population of cells (E-M-). In three separate experiments the number of transferrin receptors quantitated on both M+ and E+M+ cells was independent of cell culture density and was close to or exceeded the maximum theoretical number of receptors determined for this cell line. In contrast, E+ cells expressed fewer transferrin receptors than was predicted on the basis of cell culture density.


This study was supported in part by the Zachry, H. E. B., and James R. Dougherty Foundations.

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