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Characterization of the calcium sensitivity of differentiation in SCC-13 human squamous carcinoma cells


The sensitivity to calcium of the human squamous carcinoma cell line, SCC-13, was demonstrated and characterized. Cultures grown to confluence in the presence of 0.2 to 2 mM calcium had approximately 10-fold higher levels of particulate transglutaminase activity and envelope competence than those grown in low calcium (0.025 to 0.05 mM) medium. Raising the calcium from 0.025 to 1.8 mM induced expression of this enzyme and of competence over the course of a week. Conversely, for cultures grown to confluence in 1.8 mM calcium, subsequent reduction of calcium to 0.025 mM resulted in a substantial decline in transglutaminase over a similar time period. Immunoprecipitable transglutaminase was clearly identifiable in cultures grown in 1.8 mM calcium-containing medium but not in those grown in low calcium medium or in the presence of retinoic acid, suggestive of regulation at the level of mRNA accumulation or translation rather than posttranslational modification.

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