Dynamic Effects of Hg2+-induced Changes in Cell Volume
Carboxyfluorescein diacetate (CFDA) is a lipophilic nonfluorescent molecule that readily crosses the cell membrane. In the cytoplasm, it is hydrolyzed by nonspecific esterases to carboxyfluorescein (CF), a negatively charged fluorescent molecule, which is retained incompletely by cells with an intact plasma membrane. Exposure (4 hr) of the murine erythroleukemic cell (MELC) to micromolar quantities (0.1 to 5.0 microM) of tributyltin (TBT) results in increased cellular CF fluorescence. The increase occurs within a range below a critical value of the product (CPV) of the concentration (C) of TBT X duration (T) of exposure to TBT. Fluorescence increase is a sensitive indicator of the interaction of TBT with the cell: it is observed following exposure to 0.1 microM TBT for 4 hr at 37 degrees C. In the range above the CPV, cellular CF fluorescence is reduced apparently resulting from perturbation of membrane structure. For example, exposure of MELC to 2.5 microM TBT for 4 hr at 37 degrees C produces resistance to detergent-mediated cytolysis and inhibition of vanadate-mediated two-dimensional crystallization of Na+, K+-ATPase molecules in porcine renal microsomal membrane preparations, a process requiring molecular mobility within the membrane. Taken together, the increased cellular CF fluorescence and resistance of the MELC to cytolysis along with the inhibition of Na+, K+-ATPase crystallization in the microsomal membrane preparations suggest fixation (protein denaturation, cross-linking, etc.) at the level of the plasma membrane as a mode of toxic action of TBT.