Send to

Choose Destination
Differentiation. 1991 Mar;46(2):105-15.

Baby hamster kidney (BHK-21/C13) cells can express striated muscle type proteins.

Author information

Department of Pathology, University Hospital Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


When baby hamster kidney (BHK-21/C13) cell lines are subjected to low-serum medium, cell morphology changes from polygonal to elongated and occasionally fusion of cells is also observed. BHK-21 cells initially growing in Eagle's modified minimum essential medium (EMEM) containing 10% newborn bovine serum were induced to differentiate by changing the culture medium after the cells had grown to confluency. After this point the cells were grown in a low-serum medium (EMEM with 2% normal horse serum), for at least 4 days. The expression of different muscle-specific proteins (desmin, titin and skeletal muscle myosin) and of tropomyosins was studied in both polygonal and elongated BHK-21 cells using the indirect-immunofluorescence assay, two-dimensional (2D)-gel electrophoresis and immunoblotting. Filamentous staining was found with the desmin antisera in the polygonal cells and at all stages of BHK-cell elongation. While no reaction was seen with the titin and myosin antibodies in the polygonal cells, a punctate staining reaction for titin was detected 2 days after medium-change, although the cells had not yet elongated. After 4 days titin was found in a striated pattern. Filamentous staining was seen with the skeletal-muscle-specific myosin antibody at this stage. Confirmatory results were obtained from immunoblotting assays and 2D-gel electrophoresis of cytoskeletal preparations from undifferentiated and differentiated BHK cells. These latter experiments showed the initiation of tropomyosin expression only in the differentiated cells. The positive staining with antibodies to skeletal muscle myosin and titin indicates a striated-muscle nature of the (elongated) BHK-21/C13 cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center