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Mol Pharmacol. 1987 Jul;32(1):17-25.

Characterization of a subline of P388 leukemia resistant to amsacrine: evidence of altered topoisomerase II function.


Sensitive (P388/S) and amsacrine-resistant (P388/amsacrine) sublines of P388 leukemia were cloned in vitro and tested for differential chemosensitivity against a panel of drugs. P388/amsacrine, resistant both in vivo and in vitro to amsacrine, was cross-resistant to other putative topoisomerase II inhibitors including teniposide, etoposide, bisantrene, and doxorubicin. P388/amsacrine, was however, as sensitive as cloned P388/S to camptothecin, an inhibitor of topoisomerase I. The pattern of cross-resistance suggested that an alteration in topoisomerase II may be involved in the resistance of P388/amsacrine to these drugs. No differences in the uptake of amsacrine were detected between the two sublines. Cross-resistance to vinblastine was evident in P388/amsacrine; however resistance to vinblastine was associated with alterations in uptake or efflux of the drug. The number of protein-concealed single-strand breaks induced in whole cells by amsacrine, teniposide, bisantrene, and camptothecin was measured. Diminished numbers of strand breaks in the resistant subline were consistent with decreases in DNA-protein crosslinks. In the absence of drug treatment, resistant cells sustained approximately one-half as many single-strand breaks and DNA-protein crosslinks as the sensitive cells during preparation of nuclei. As measured by the P4 phage DNA unknotting assay, 0.35 M NaCl nuclear extracts from P388/S contained approximately 2.3-fold more topoisomerase II catalytic activity than did extracts from P388/amsacrine. The amount of protein that immunoreacted with a specific antibody to calf thymus topoisomerase II was also decreased in the resistant cells. These data suggest that alterations in topoisomerase II which lead to differential drug sensitivities are partially responsible for the resistance of P388/amsacrine to a specific group of drugs.

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