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Exp Cell Res. 1995 Jul;219(1):159-68.

Dissociation of nuclear and cytoplasmic cell cycle progression by drugs employed in cell synchronization.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, California 94305, USA.


We have studied the effect of the cell synchronization agents compactin, ciclopirox olamine, mimosine, aphidicolin, ALLN, and colcemid on several parameters of cell cycle progression in mitotically synchronized HeLa S3 cells. Using cell size and cyclin A and B levels as markers of cytoplasmic progression and DNA content as a measure of nuclear cell cycle position, we have examined coordination of cytoplasmic and nuclear events during induction synchrony. Each synchronizing agent was unique in its effect on the coordination of the cytoplasmic and nuclear cycle. Mimosine, aphidicolin, ALLN, and colcemid disrupted cell cycle integration while compactin and ciclopirox olamine did not. Continued net cell growth during cell cycle arrest was the most dramatic in aphidicolin-treated cells, which averaged a 60% increase in size. Mimosine, ALLN, and colcemid produced an increase in cell size of approximately 25%, and ciclopyrox olamine and compactin exerted a negligible effect. Cyclin A and B were found at mitotic (high) or G1 (low) levels, or in combination of high and low concentrations not correlated with DNA content in drug-treated cells. For example, treatment with mimosine, which arrests cells in G1 with 2C DNA, resulted in cyclin A accumulating to mitotic levels, whereas cyclin B remained at a low concentration, the first time this phenomenon has been observed. These results demonstrate that populations of synchronized cells obtained by different drug treatments are blocked at biochemically distinct cell cycle points not apparent by cytometric measurement of DNA content. Our results provide conclusive evidence that induced synchrony methods differ with respect to their impact on cell cycle organization and from the pattern seen with nonperturbing cell selection methods.

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