Effects of local anesthetics on membrane properties II. Enhancement of the susceptibility of mammalian cells to agglutination by plant lectins

G. Poste, D. Papahadjopoulos, K. Jacobson, W. J. Vail

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102 Scopus citations


Treatment of untransformed mouse and hamster cells with the tertiary amine local anesthetics dibucaine, tetracaine and procaine increases their susceptibility to agglutination by low doses of the plant lectin concanavalin A. Agglutination of anesthetic-treated untransformed cells by low doses of concanavalin A is accompanied by redistribution of concanavalin A receptors on the cell surface to form patches, similar to that occurring in spontaneous agglutination of virus-transformed cells by concanavalin A. Immunofluorescence and freeze-fracture electronmicroscopic observations indicate that local anesthetics per se do not induce this redistribution of concanavalin A receptors but modify the plasma membrane so that receptor redistribution is facilitated on binding of concanavalin A to the cell surface. Fluorescence polarization measurements on the rotational freedom of the membrane-associated probe, diphenylhexatriene, indicate that local anesthetics produce a small increase in the fluidity of membrane lipids. Spontaneous agglutination of transformed cells by low doses of concanavalin A is inhibited by colchicine and vinblastine but these alkaloids have no effect on concanavalin A agglutination of anesthetic-treated cells. Evidence is presented which suggests that local anesthetics may impair membrane peripheral proteins sensitive to colchicine (microtubules) and cytochalasin-B (microfilaments). Combined treatment of untransformed 3T3 cells with colchicine and cytochalasin B mimics the effect of local anesthetics in enhancing susceptibility to agglutination by low doses of concanavalin A. A hypothesis is presented on the respective roles of colchicine-sensitive and cytochalasin B-sensitive peripheral membrane proteins in controlling the topographical distribution of lectin receptors on the cell surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)520-539
Number of pages20
JournalBBA - Biomembranes
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 18 1975
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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