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Transmission electron microscopy was used to determine how immunogold labeling of PKC-alpha or -beta is modulated by the antitumor drug IFN (HuIFN alpha-2b) in the cytoplasm, membrane structures, and nucleus of rapidly dividing and confluent human glioma U-373 cells. Results showed that except for nuclear localization, there were no specific cytoplasmic organelles that PKC-alpha or -beta translocated to following HuIFN alpha-2b treatment. Electron micrographs of PKC-beta in proliferating cells depicted 1.34-fold more PKC-beta in the nucleus than in the cytoplasm and a 1-min HuIFN alpha-2b (500 units/ml) treatment transiently increased PKC-beta immunoreactivity in the cytoplasm (1.95-fold) and nucleus (1.97-fold). In confluent cells, incubation with HuIFN alpha-2b for 2 min significantly decreased cytoplasmic PKC-beta immunoreactivity by 37%, and no change was observed in nuclear PKC-beta labeling. PKC-alpha labeling in proliferating cells showed similar immunoreactivity in both control cytoplasm and nucleus. Treatment of proliferating cells with HuIFN alpha-2b for 2 min decreased PKC-alpha in the cytoplasm (59%) and nucleus (44%). In confluent cells, cytoplasmic PKC-alpha labeling decreased 59% at 1 min, 61% at 2 min, and 76% at 10 min of HuIFN alpha-2b treatment. Nuclear PKC-alpha decreased by 65% at 1 min, 80% at 2 min, and 62% at 10 min after HuIFN alpha-2b treatment. Western blots of total PKC-alpha in proliferating and confluent cells and PKC-beta in confluent cells showed similar results. However, Western blots of total PKC-alpha and -beta in proliferating cells did not demonstrate any significant changes in either PKC-alpha or -beta immunoreactivity following 1-min HuIFN alpha-2b treatment. These results suggest that treatment of proliferating U-373 cells with HuIFN alpha-2b for 1 min unfolds and exposes PKC-beta antigenic sites (hinge region) and increases in situ PKC-beta immunogold labeling.

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Cell Growth & Differentiation, v. 6, issue 11, p. 1353-1365