Folate-pool interconversions and inhibition of biosynthetic processes after exposure of L1210 leukemia cells to antifolates. Experimental and network thermodynamic analyses of the role of dihydrofolate polyglutamylates in antifolate action in cells

R. L. Seither, D. F. Trent, D. C. Mikulecky, T. J. Rape, I. D. Goldman

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55 Scopus citations

Abstract

Folate analogs that inhibit dihydrofolate reductase result in only partial interconversion of tetrahydrofolate cofactors to dihydrofolate with preservation of the major portion of reduced cellular folate cofactors in L1210 leukemia cells. One possible explanation for this phenomenon is that low levels of dihydrofolate polyglutamates that accumulate in the presence of antifolates block thymidylate synthase to prevent depletion of reduced folate pools. This paper correlates biochemical analyses of rapid interconversions of radiolabeled folates and changes in purine and pyrimidine biosynthesis in L1210 murine leukemia cells exposed to antifolates with network thermodynamic computer modeling to assess this hypothesis. When cells are exposed to 1 μM trimetrexate there is an almost instantaneous inhibition of [3H]deoxyuridine or [14C]formate incorporation into nucleotides which is maximal within 5 min. This is associated with a rapid rise in cellular dihydrofolate (t( 1/2 ) ~ 1.5 min), which reaches a steady state that represents only 27.9% of the total folate pool. Pretreatment of cells with fluorodeoxyuridine, to inhibit thymidylate synthase by about 95% followed by trimetrexate only slows the rate of folate interconversion (t( 1/2 ) ~ 25 min) but not the final dihydrofolate level achieved. This is consistent with computer simulations which predict that direct inhibition of thymidylate synthase by 97, 98, and 99% should increase the half-time of dihydrofolate rise after trimetrexate to 40, 60, and 124 min, respectively, but the final level achieved is always the same as in cells with normal thymidylate synthase activity. The data reflect the high degree of catalytic activity of thymidylate synthase relative to tetrahydrofolate cofactor pools in the cells and the enormous extent of inhibition of this enzyme that is necessary to slow the rate of folate interconversions after addition of antifolates. The model predicts, and the data demonstrate, that virtually any residual thymidylate synthase activity will permit the interconversion of all tetrahydrofolate cofactors available for oxidation to dihydrofolate when dihydrofolate reductase activity is abolished, but the rate of interconversion will be slowed. Additional simulations indicate that the time course of cessation of tetrahydrofolate-dependent purine and pyrimidine biosynthesis after antifolates in these cells can be accounted for solely on the basis of tetrahydrofolate cofactor depletion alone. These data exclude the possibility that direct inhibition of thymidylate synthase by dihydrofolate polyglutamates, or any other intracellular folates that accumulate in cells after antifolates, can account for the rapid but partial interconversion of reduced folate cofactors to dihydrofolate. Experimental observations and computer simulations suggest that a fraction of cellular tetrahydrofolates are in a biochemical form, physical compartment, or bound to cellular constituents which make them unavailable for oxidation to dihydrofolate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17016-17023
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume264
Issue number29
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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