• cellular transformation;
  • adhesion alterations;
  • soft agar;
  • fibronectin;
  • 44kDa protein;
  • nutritional stress

The pattern of growth, adhesion and protein synthesis in Vero cells submitted to nutritional stress conditions was investigated. The control cells presented a characteristic pattern, with monolayer growth, while the stressed cells presented multilayered growth, with aggregate or spheroid formation which detached on the flask surface and continued their growth in another region. In the soft agar assay, with reduced amount of nutrients, only the stressed cells presented growth, indicating physical and nutritional independence. A 44-kDa protein was observed in stressed cells and was absent in non-stressed cells. The adhesion index and fibronectin synthesis and distribution were altered in stressed cells. After confluence, control cells presented fibronectin accumulation in lateral cell—cell contact regions, while this fibronectin accumulation pattern was not observed in stressed cells. These alterations may be responsible for the multilayered growth and decreased adhesion index observed in stressed cells which were transformed by nutritional stress conditions.