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Leuk Res. 2008 Aug;32(8):1268-78. doi: 10.1016/j.leukres.2007.12.015. Epub 2008 Feb 14.

Determinants of sensitivity of human T-cell leukemia CCRF-CEM cells to immucillin-H.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


Immucillin-H (BCX-1777, forodesine) is a transition state analogue and potent inhibitor of PNP that shows promise as a specific agent against activated human T-cells and T-cell leukemias. The immunosuppressive or antileukemic effects of Immucillin-H (ImmH) in cultured cells require co-administration with deoxyguanosine (dGuo) to attain therapeutic levels of intracellular dGTP. In this study we investigated the requirements for sensitivity and resistance to ImmH and dGuo. (3)H-ImmH transport assays demonstrated that the equilibrative nucleoside transporters (ENT1 and ENT2) facilitated the uptake of ImmH in human leukemia CCRF-CEM cells whereas (3)H-dGuo uptake was primarily dependent upon concentrative nucleoside transporters (CNTs). Analysis of lysates from ImmH-resistant CCRF-CEM-AraC-8D cells demonstrated undetectable deoxycytidine kinase (dCK) activity, suggesting that dCK and not deoxyguanosine kinase (dGK) was the rate-limiting enzyme for phosphorylation of dGuo in these cells. Examination of ImmH cytotoxicity in a hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase (HGPRT)-deficient cell line CCRF-CEM-AraC-8C, demonstrated enhanced sensitivity to low concentrations of ImmH and dGuo. RT-PCR and sequencing of HGPRT from the HGPRT-deficient CCRF-CEM-AraC-8C cells identified an Exon 8 deletion mutation in this enzyme. Thus these studies show that specific nucleoside transporters are required for ImmH cytotoxicity and predict that ImmH may be more cytotoxic to 6-thioguanine (6-TG) or 6-thiopurine-resistant leukemia cells caused by HGPRT deficiency.

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