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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Polar/apolar compounds induce leukemia cell differentiation by modulating cell-surface potential.

The mechanism of action of polar/apolar inducers of cell differentiation, such as dimethyl sulfoxide and hexamethylene-bisacetamide, is still obscure. In this paper evidence is provided that their effects on murine erythroleukemia cells are modulated by various extracellular cations as a precise function of the cation effects on membrane surface potential. The interfacial effects of the inducers were directly measured on the charged electrode, showing that both dimethyl sulfoxide and hexamethylene-bisacetamide, at the effective concentrations for cell differentiation and within the physiological range of charge density, adsorb at the charged surface and produce a potential shift. A linear correlation was found between this shift and the inducer effects on cell differentiation. Besides offering a different interpretation of the mechanism of action of the inducers, these findings indicate that surface potential has a signaling function. They may also be relevant to cancer treatments based on tumor-cell commitment to terminal differentiation.[1]


  1. Polar/apolar compounds induce leukemia cell differentiation by modulating cell-surface potential. Arcangeli, A., Carlà, M., Del Bene, M.R., Becchetti, A., Wanke, E., Olivotto, M. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1993) [Pubmed]
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