The effect of phytohemagglutinin (PHA) on the ability of human lymphocytes to transport the nonutilizable amino acid, α-aminoisobutyric acid (AIB) has been studied. PHA binds rapidly to plasma membrane receptor sites with half maximal binding requiring approximately 7.5 min. During the first 30 min after PHA addition to lymphocytes no change was detected in AIB transport, but then a linear increase in the initial rate of AIB transport occurred over the next 9 hr. Subsequently, the rate of AIB transport stabilized at a level 6-7 times greater than that found in control lymphocytes. The change in membrane function developed even when de novo protein synthesis was inhibited by 85-90% with puromycin or cycloheximide. However, the PHA effect did not occur when the lymphocytes were maintained at 4°C.
John Mendelsohn, Sister Ann Skinner, Stuart Kornfeld