Skeletal muscle and liver tissue from 9-day-old chick embryos were dissociated into separate cells using 0.25 % (w/v) crude trypsin. The effect of rabbit anti-actomyosin sera on the aggregation of these cells was estimated by the gyratory shaker and turbidimetric methods. Studies were also undertaken on the ability of fluorescein isothiocyanate-labelled rabbit anti-uterine actomyosin serum (FITC-labelled anti-UAM) to stain the cell surface and on the type specificity and species specificity of rabbit anti-chicken actomyosin sera.

Antisera against chicken gizzard smooth-muscle actomyosin (anti-GAM) and against chicken pectoralis striated muscle actomyosin (anti-PAM) both gave single precipitin bands with their respective actomyosins on diffusion through agar. The antisera neither reacted with their heterologous actomyosin nor with gizzard tropomyosin; they were type-specific. Serial sections of human cervix were stained in a similar pattern with both anti-UAM and anti-GAM, showing that anti-smooth muscle actomyosin sera were not species-specific.

The fibrocytes of the human umbilical cord and human platelets were stained by FITC-labelled anti-UAM serum but not by labelled anti-human PAM.

The aggregation of muscle and liver cells over a 24-h period in the presence of antisera against human or chicken PAM was not significantly different from the controls incubated on a gyratory shaker in Eagle's minimum essential medium (MEM) containing 10% (v/v) rabbit non-immunized serum (NIS) or calf serum. However, anti-UAM and anti-GAM inhibited both the rate of aggregation of liver and muscle cells and the size of aggregates attained in 24 h. This effect could not be simulated with specific rabbit antisera against human plasma proteins.

The globulin-enriched fraction of anti-GAM markedly inhibited the aggregation of liver and muscle cells in a range of concentrations between 50 and 500 µg per 2 x 106 cells/ml Eagle's MEM. In contrast, the aggregation of cells incubated with globulin-enriched anti-PAM was similar to the controls. The addition of anti-GAM globulins at 1 or 2 h to muscle cells rotated by the turbidimetric method reduced the aggregative competence of the cells over the remainder of a 4-h period.

The possibility that the inhibitory effect of anti-UAM and anti-GAM on cell aggregation is due to impurities in the antisera or to a general reaction with cell surface ATPases is discussed but, in the light of evidence, rejected in favour of a reaction between the antisera and an actomyosin of the smooth-muscle type at the cell surface.

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