The Selection of Heterokaryons and Cell Hybrids Using the Biochemical Inhibitors Iodoacetamide and Diethylpyrocarbonate

  • Woodring Erik Wright


Most selective systems for isolating fusion products between different cell types rely on the preferential ability of the fusion products to grow in a special medium (reviewed in Ringertz and Savage, 1976). Because these selection systems require cell division, most experiments in somatic cell genetics have studied clones of cell hybrids rather than heterokaryons, which are the immediate product of the fusion of two different cells. However, there are many fundamental differences between hybrids and heterokaryons that make the latter an important subject of investigation. One of the most significant derives from the fact that most differentiated cells are slowly dividing or postmitotic. Restricting the analysis to only those fusion products capable of rapid cell division and clone formation thus automatically biases results against the expression of differentiated functions. This bias is particularly compelling if one examines the frequency with which heterokaryons give rise to growing hybrid clones. Although this varies widely with the cell combination employed and ranges from as much as one in three (Kao et al., 1969) to as few as one in 100, 000 (Miller and Ruddle, 1976), an average value appears to be that about one in 100 heterokaryons gives rise to a hybrid clone. These clones thus represent a highly selected subset of all fusion products. Conclusions about the expression of differentiated functions in the clones must therefore be interpreted with caution.


Cell Hybrid Cell Rescue Hybrid Clone Somatic Cell Genetic Fusion Combination 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Woodring Erik Wright
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cell Biology and Internal MedicineThe University of Texas Health Science CenterDallasUSA

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