Camptothecin-resistant mutants of Chinese hamster ovary cells containing a resistant form of topoisomerase I.
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In Chinese hamster ovary cells, stable mutants that exhibit 250- to 350-fold resistance to camptothecin (CptR mutants) have been isolated from mutagen-treated cultures. The CptR mutants exhibited no cross-resistance towards drugs such as colchicine, vinblastine, taxol, or puromycin but showed slightly (2- to 3-fold) enhanced sensitivity towards various drugs that inhibit DNA topoisomerase II (namely teniposide, etoposide, doxorubicin, mitoxantrone, amsacrine, ellipticine), suggesting that the genetic lesion in these mutants was highly specific. In contrast to the wild-type cells, the CptR line was resistant to camptothecin-induced DNA strand breaks as measured by alkaline elution. Biochemical studies revealed that in CptR mutants the cellular activity as well as protein content of DNA topoisomerase I were reduced to about 40-50% of the level in wild-type cells. Normal levels of activity and content were observed for the related enzyme DNA topoisomerase II. Studies with DNA topoisomerase I purified from the wild-type and the mutant cells showed that the enzyme from the CptR cells was markedly resistant to camptothecin as assayed by the drug's effects either on relaxation of supercoiled DNA or on stabilization of the covalent enzyme-DNA intermediate. The presence of a camptothecin-resistant form of DNA topoisomerase I in the mutant cells provides further evidence that this enzyme is the cellular target of camptothecin. Cell hybridization studies between the CptR and CptS cells showed that the hybrids formed between these two cell lines were sensitive to camptothecin. The recessive behavior of the CptR mutation provides a plausible explanation for the reduced topoisomerase I content (about one-half of wild-type cells) of the mutant cells and also for their enhanced sensitivity towards inhibitors of topoisomerase II.
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