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Mol Pharmacol. 1988 Dec;34(6):755-60.

Evidence that DNA topoisomerase I is necessary for the cytotoxic effects of camptothecin.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, State University of New York, Stony Brook 11794.


The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe are both sensitive to camptothecin, an inhibitor of DNA topoisomerase I. An S. cerevisiae DNA repair mutant, rad52, is hypersensitive to the drug. In both species, topoisomerase I mutants totally lacking the enzyme are completely resistant to the drug. A strain with a mutation leading to a temperature-sensitive topoisomerase I exhibits temperature dependence in its in vivo response to camptothecin. A strain carrying a plasmid that overproduces topoisomerase I is hypersensitive to the drug. The rad52 mutant is killed by overproduction of the enzyme, even in the absence of the drug. The response of several of these strains to camptothecin analogs, to DNA topoisomerase II inhibitors, and to other drugs is reported. The cytotoxic effects of camptothecin are discussed in terms of the drug extending the lifetime of a topoisomerase I-DNA covalent intermediate, which is recognized as DNA damage by a DNA repair system.

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