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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2004 Oct 14;1690(2):110-7.

Functional analysis of altered reduced folate carrier sequence changes identified in osteosarcomas.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Western Ontario, Dental Sciences Bldg., Dock 15, London, Canada N6A 5C1.


Osteosarcomas are common primary malignant bone tumors that do not respond to conventional low-dose treatments of methotrexate (Mtx), suggesting an intrinsic resistance to this drug. Previous work has shown that cDNAs generated from osteosarcoma mRNA from a fraction of patients contain sequence changes in the reduced folate carrier (RFC), the membrane protein transporter for Mtx. In this study, the functionality of the altered RFC proteins was assessed by fusing the green fluorescent protein (GFP) to the C-terminal, and examining the ability of the transfected constructs to complement a hamster cell line null for the carrier. Confocal microscopy and cell surface biotinylation indicated that all altered proteins were properly localized at the cell membrane. Only one of those examined, Leu291Pro, was unable to complement the null carrier line, but did bind Mtx at the cell surface. Thus, this alteration confers drug resistance since the carrier is unable to translocate the substrate across the cell membrane. Three alterations, Ser46Asn, Ser4Pro and Gly259Trp, while able to complement the carrier null line, conferred some degree of resistance to Mtx via a decreased rate of transport (Vmax). Another set of alterations, Glu21Lys, Ala7Val, and the combined changes Thr222Ile, Met254Thr, complemented the carrier null line and did not confer resistance to Mtx. Thus, some, but not all of these identified alterations in the RFC may contribute to the lack of responsiveness of osteosarcomas to Mtx treatment.

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