The mechanism of action of polar/apolar inducers of cell differentiation, such as dimethyl sulfoxide and hexamethylene-bisacetamide, is still obscure. In this paper evidence is provided that their effects on murine erythroleukemia cells are modulated by various extracellular cations as a precise function of the cation effects on membrane surface potential. The interfacial effects of the inducers were directly measured on the charged electrode, showing that both dimethyl sulfoxide and hexamethylene-bisacetamide, at the effective concentrations for cell differentiation and within the physiological range of charge density, adsorb at the charged surface and produce a potential shift. A linear correlation was found between this shift and the inducer effects on cell differentiation. Besides offering a different interpretation of the mechanism of action of the inducers, these findings indicate that surface potential has a signaling function. They may also be relevant to cancer treatments based on tumor-cell commitment to terminal differentiation.
Polar/apolar compounds induce leukemia cell differentiation by modulating cell-surface potential / A. ARCANGELI; M. CARLA'; M. DEL BENE; A. BECCHETTI; E. WANKE; M. OLIVOTTO. - In: PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. - ISSN 0027-8424. - STAMPA. - 90:(1993), pp. 5858-5862.