Transient inhibition of DNA synthesis by 5-fluorodeoxyuridine leads to overexpression of dihydrofolate reductase with increased frequency of methotrexate resistance.

J. D. Schuetz, K. M. Gorse, I. D. Goldman, E. H. Westin

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Transient but incomplete suppression of DNA synthesis by a single exposure of an asynchronous population of cells to 5-fluoro-2'-deoxyuridine (FdUrd) increases the frequency of appearance of methotrexate (MTX)-resistant colonies. This increase was greater than 10-fold following a 6-h incubation of cells with 3 microM FdUrd prior to selection in MTX, an interval one-half the normal L1210 cell cycle time. During this period of exposure to FdUrd, DNA synthesis decreased to 25% of control rates and cells accumulated at the G1/S interface. The 6-h incubation with FdUrd resulted in greater than a 2.5-fold increase in the dihydrofolate reductase protein level in the treated cell population, which was accounted for, at least in part, by increased de novo synthesis of the enzyme as assessed by [35S]methionine labeling. This increase in dihydrofolate reductase was associated with a decrease in growth inhibition by MTX. A brief reversal (2 h) of FdUrd-induced DNA synthesis inhibition by the addition of thymidine eliminated the amplification of dihydrofolate reductase and the enhanced emergence of MTX-resistant clones. Beyond this, an analysis of clones that survive MTX selection indicates that the dihydrofolate reductase gene copy in cells spontaneously resistant to 50 nM MTX and those which resulted after the additional pretreatment with FdUrd for 6 h are comparable with a 2-4-fold amplification of enzyme in most clones. These studies demonstrate that FdUrd enhancement of dihydrofolate reductase expression can have a profound effect upon the incidence and expression of MTX resistance and that dihydrofolate reductase gene amplification may be another basis for antagonism between these agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7708-7712
Number of pages5
JournalThe Journal of biological chemistry
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Jun 5 1988
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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