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J Biol Chem. 1989 Oct 5;264(28):16411-20.

Characterization of an amsacrine-resistant line of human leukemia cells. Evidence for a drug-resistant form of topoisomerase II.

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Department of Medical Oncology, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030.


HL-60/AMSA is a human leukemia cell line that is 100 times more resistant to the cytotoxic actions of the antineoplastic, topoisomerase II-reactive DNA intercalating acridine derivative amsacrine (m-AMSA) than is its parent HL-60 line. HL-60/AMSA cells are minimally resistant to etoposide, a topoisomerase II-reactive drug that does not intercalate. Previously we showed that HL-60 topoisomerase II activity in cells, nuclei, or nuclear extracts was sensitive to m-AMSA and etoposide, while HL-60/AMSA topoisomerase II was resistant to m-AMSA but sensitive to etoposide. Now we show that purified topoisomerase II from the two cell lines exhibits the same drug sensitivity or resistance as that in the nuclear extracts although the magnitude of the m-AMSA resistance of HL-60/AMSA topoisomerase II in vitro is not as great as the resistance of the intact HL-60/AMSA cells. In addition HL-60/AMSA cells are cross-resistant to topoisomerase II-reactive intercalators from the anthracycline and ellipticine families and the pattern of sensitivity or resistance to the cytotoxic actions of the various topoisomerase II-reactive drugs is paralleled by topoisomerase II-reactive drug-induced DNA cleavage and protein cross-link production in cells and the production of drug-induced, topoisomerase II-mediated DNA cleavage and protein cross-linking in isolated biochemical systems. In addition to its lowered sensitivity to intercalators, HL-60/AMSA differed from HL-60 in 1) the susceptibility of its topoisomerase II to stimulation of DNA topoisomerase II complex formation by ATP, 2) the catalytic activity of its topoisomerase II in an ionic environment chosen to reproduce the environment found within the living cell, and 3) the observed restriction enzyme pattern on a Southern blot probed with a cDNA for human topoisomerase II. These data indicate that an m-AMSA-resistant form of topoisomerase II contributes to the resistance of HL-60/AMSA to m-AMSA and to other topoisomerase II-reactive DNA intercalating agents. The drug resistance is associated with additional biochemical and molecular alterations that may be important determinants of cellular sensitivity or resistance to topoisomerase II-reactive drugs.

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