In order to identify new compounds with cell hybridization properties similar to poly(ethylene glycol), the standard method for PEG-induced cell hybridization has been employed as a screening procedure. Of 118 membrane-active agents studied, over 20 compounds were identified which promoted cell hybridization with nearly the same efficiency as PEG. PEG derivatives which retained cell hybridization activity included polymers with branched and charged structures as well as polymers with chemical alterations of the PEG monomer itself. PEG derivatives with hydrophobic moieties were generally inactive. Several chemically modified derivatives of poly(ethylene glycol), which are commercially important in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, were found to be highly efficient cell hybridization agents. The biohazard of such compounds is discussed. A simplified method is presented for the preparation and use of PEG in cell hybridization procedures.
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