Somatic cell hybrids between hepatoma and Friend erythroleukemia parental cells were studied for the expression of liver-specific and erythroid properties. Several independent clones were isolated using HAT selection and were shown to be true hybrids by isozyme and chromosome analysis. All displayed a complete extinction of hemoglobin and globin mRNA production, but a retention of albumin and transferrin secretion. The data suggest that erythroid differentiation is being actively inhibited by the hepatoma genome. Possible mechanisms that might explain these results are discussed in the light of current hypotheses regarding the mechanism of cell differentiation.
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