Isolation and transformation of primary mesenchymal cells of the chick embryo

Robert W. Keane, Peter C. Lindblad, Lauren T. Pierik, Vernon M. Ingram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Pure primary mesenchymal cells from definitive streak stage chick embryos have been prepared free of epiblast and hypoblast cells. These cells have the potential in culture to differentiate into erythroid cells, beating heart muscle tissue, chondrocytes and epithelial cells. Transformation in vitro of pure primary mesenchymal cells by avian erythroblastosis virus (wt-AEV) and a temperature-sensitive mutant (ts34-AEV) gave rise to rapidly growing cells which remained largely undifferentiated, could be cloned in semi-solid medium and could be maintained for up to 3 months in culture. The majority of mesenchymal cells transformed by wt-AEV (MAE cells) are benzidine-negative. Gel electrophoresis of radioactively labeled cell proteins, immunoprecipitated with specific antisera against chicken hemoglobin, showed that MAE cell clones synthesize the αD, π (or π1) and some unidentified "globin" polypeptide chains. Treatment of MAE cell clones with 1.0 mM n-butyrate stops cell proliferation reversibly and causes an increased synthesis of αD and π (or π1) globin polypeptide chains. In certain clones of mesenchymal cells transformed by a temperature-sensitive mutant of the virus, ts34-AEV (MAE-ts34 cells), benzidine-positive cells can be induced by a shift from 37° to 41 °C. The ability of the clone to undergo an increase in benzidine-positivity by temperature shift is decreased with the age of the clone. Different clones show a variable proportion of cells which are positive by immunofluorescence for both globin and chicken-specific histone H5. The αA and αD globin chains are synthesized in MAE-ts34 clones, but the ratios and quantities of these chains vary for different clones. Temperature shift made little difference in the types and quantities of globin chains synthesized; the increase in benzidine positivity is probably due to an increase in heme biosynthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)801-811
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1979
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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