Effects of 2,3-iminosqualene on cultured cells

G. Popjak, A. Meenan, W. D. Nes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


2,3-Iminosqualene (ISq) is a powerful inhibitor of squalene oxide: lanosterol cyclase (EC When added to lipid-depleted culture media (LDM) of rat hepatoma (H-4-II-E-C3) or Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells at a concentration of 10 μg ml-1, it causes the cells to float off the substratum in a few days. Lipoproteins in the culture medium completely counteract this effect. Cells in lipoprotein-containing media (FGM) grow normally in the presence of ISq. Irrespective of the culture medium, ISq at 10 μg ml-1 causes an almost complete and apparently irreversible inactivation of the squalene oxide cyclase in CHO and H4 cells and the accumulation in the cells of squalene, of squalene 2,3-oxide (mostly), and of squalene 2,3-22,23-dioxide when [14C]acetate or [14C]mevalonate is fed to the cells. Chronic treatment of H4 cells with ISq failed to elicit induction of the cyclase, but increased the conversion of mevalonate into squalene and squalene dioxide, and depressed the conversion of squalene oxide to the dioxide. Cells loaded with squalene and the squalene oxides from mevalonate in the presence in of ISq get rid of these substances by rapidly secreting them into the media and by some unidentified metabolic processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-287
Number of pages15
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1268
StatePublished - 1987


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