Morphometric characteristics such as cell area, dispersion, elongation and orientation were studied in normal and transformed fibroblasts, and in epitheliocytes cultured on flat or cylindrical substrata. Cylindrical surfaces with a high degree of curvature (12-13 or 25 microns radii) were shown to affect cell size, shape and alignment. The reaction of the cells to the curvature of cylindrical substrata was different in various cell types studied and depended on the pattern of actin microfilament bundles. The cells containing pronounced straight actin bundles (mouse embryo fibroblasts at the polarization stage of spreading, single spread cells of the ‘normal’ epithelial FBT line or the fully transformed epithelial IAR 6–1 line) were relatively resistant to bending around a cylindrical substratum, and became elongated and oriented along the cylinder. Cells with circular actin bundles as the predominant pattern (mouse embryo fibroblasts at the radial stage of spreading, single spread cells of ‘normal’ epithelial IAR 20 line) and cells with insufficient or no actin bundles (transformed fibroblastic L line) were prone to bending around a cylinder with much less pronounced elongation and orientation along its axis. The data obtained indicate that the reaction of cultured cells to the geometry of the substratum surface and, in particular, to a cylindrical surface is determined not only by the presence or absence of actin microfilament bundles but by their pattern in the cell.

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