Folylpolyglutamyl synthase (FPGS) converts intracellular folates and antifolates to polyglutamates. Polyglutamylated folates and antifolates are retained in cells longer and are better substrates than their monoglutamate counterparts for enzymes involved in one-carbon transfer. FPGS modulation affects the chemosensitivity of cancer cells to antifolates, such as methotrexate, and 5-fluorouracil (5FU) by altering polyglutamylation of antifolates and specific target intracellular folate cofactors. However, this effect may be counterbalanced by FPGS modulation-induced changes in polyglutamylation of other intracellular folate cofactors and total intracellular folate pools. We generated an in vitro model of FPGS overexpression and inhibition in breast cancer cells by stably transfecting human MDA-MB-435 breast cancer cells with the sense FPGS cDNA or FPGS-targeted small interfering RNA, respectively, and investigated the effects of FPGS modulation on chemosensitivity to 5FU and methotrexate. FPGS modulation-induced changes in polyglutamylation of both antifolates and folate cofactors and in intracellular folate pools affected chemosensitivity of breast cancer cells to pemetrexed and trimetrexate whose cytotoxic effects do or do not depend on polyglutamylation, respectively, in a predictable manner. However, the effects of FPGS modulation on the chemosensitivity of breast cancer cells to 5FU and methotrexate seem to be highly complex and depend not only on polyglutamylation of a specific target intracellular folate cofactor or methotrexate, respectively, but also on total intracellular folate pools and polyglutamylation of other intracellular folate cofactors. Whether or not FPGS modulation may be an important clinical determinant of chemosensitivity of breast cancer cells to 5FU and methotrexate-based chemotherapy needs further exploration.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research