Heterogeneity in the rate of benzo[a]pyrene metabolism in single cells: quantitation using flow cytometry.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Molecular and cellular biology, Volume 2, Issue 6, p.625-32 (1982)


1982, Animals, Benzo(a)pyrene, Biotransformation, Cell Division, Cell Line, Tumor, Enzyme Induction, Flow Cytometry Core Facility, Kinetics, MICE, Tetrachlorodibenzodioxin


We describe a method for quantitating heterogeneity in the rate of benzo[a]pyrene metabolism in single cells by using flow cytometry. We have used the technique to study the response of Hepa-1c1c7 mouse hepatoma cells to the microsomal enzyme inducer 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin. Cells responded in a relatively homogeneous fashion at different times of induction with a maximally inducing concentration of the inducer. However, the induction response could be heterogeneous at a submaximal inducer concentration. We found even higher heterogeneity of enzyme activity among low-activity variants derived from the Hepa-1c1c7 cell line. When cells of either high or low activity were isolated from such a clonal population, propagated, and reanalyzed, they displayed average enzyme activity and heterogeneity identical to the parental cells; therefore, the heterogeneity represents transient, nonheritable differences between cells within the population.