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Eur J Biochem. 2004 Nov;271(21):4298-306.

Antisense glutaminase inhibition decreases glutathione antioxidant capacity and increases apoptosis in Ehrlich ascitic tumour cells.

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Departamento de Biología Molecular y Bioquímica, Laboratorio de Química de Proteínas, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Málaga, Spain.


Glutamine is an essential amino acid in cancer cells and is required for the growth of many other cell types. Glutaminase activity is positively correlated with malignancy in tumours and with growth rate in normal cells. In the present work, Ehrlich ascites tumour cells, and their derivative, 0.28AS-2 cells, expressing antisense glutaminase mRNA, were assayed for apoptosis induced by methotrexate and hydrogen peroxide. It is shown that Ehrlich ascites tumour cells, expressing antisense mRNA for glutaminase, contain lower levels of glutathione than normal ascites cells. In addition, 0.28AS-2 cells contain a higher number of apoptotic cells and are more sensitive to both methotrexate and hydrogen peroxide toxicity than normal cells. Taken together, these results provide insights into the role of glutaminase in apoptosis by demonstrating that the expression of antisense mRNA for glutaminase alters apoptosis and glutathione antioxidant capacity.

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