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J Natl Cancer Inst. 1986 Dec;77(6):1247-53.

Human melanoma cell lines showing striking inherent differences in sensitivity to immunotoxins containing holotoxins.


The in vitro sensitivity of human melanoma cell lines to conjugates of whole abrin or ricin linked through disulfide bonds to the monoclonal antimelanoma antibody 9.2.27 was studied. After passage of the conjugates through a Sepharose 4B column to remove molecular species with exposed binding sites on their B-chains, toxicity of the conjugates to different melanoma cell lines and nonmelanoma tumor lines was assessed by measuring their ability to inhibit cellular protein synthesis. The abrin conjugate was far more toxic to the target cells than the corresponding ricin conjugate. The 8 melanoma cell lines studied differed widely in their sensitivities to the abrin conjugate. The differences were associated with concomitant large differences in the sensitivities of the cells to the native toxins, and the significance of the level of the antigen expression became apparent only when the sensitivities of the different cell lines were normalized with respect to their sensitivity to native abrin. The observed relationship could not be accounted for by unspecific binding via the B-chain binding site of the immunotoxin. The differential sensitivity of the melanoma cell lines to the immunotoxin seems to be related to inherent differences between the cells in their ability to internalize and to process immunotoxins and toxins. The findings may have considerable practical implications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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