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Adv Enzyme Regul. 1987;26:147-55.

The role of folylpolyglutamate synthetase and gamma-glutamyl hydrolase in altering cellular folyl- and antifolylpolyglutamates.

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Wadsworth Center for Laboratories and Research, New York State Department of Health, Albany 12201.


The metabolic products of methotrexate differ in hepatocytes and hepatoma cells; the primary products are 7-hydroxymethotrexate in hepatocytes and the polyglutamate derivatives in hepatoma cells. The rate of glutamylation is approximately 5-fold greater in hepatoma cells than hepatocytes under comparable conditions and the polyglutamate products in the hepatoma cells consist of longer chain length tri- and tetraglutamate derivatives, whereas the hepatocytes favor the diglutamate derivative. Extracts of cultured hepatocytes have approximately half the folylpolyglutamate synthetase and three times as much gamma-glutamyl hydrolase as the hepatoma cells. A further difference is that methionine inhibits glutamylation in hepatocytes whereas it can cause a marked stimulation (five- to seven-fold) in hepatoma cells. The rate of glutamylation of methotrexate in intact hepatoma cells is strongly dependent on the culture conditions and can be enhanced as much as five-fold in dividing cultures or by removing folates from the cells. These changes may be in part caused by the fact that the folylpolyglutamate synthetase is nearly doubled in both growing cultures and in folate lacking cells. The treatment of human liver in vivo or rodent hepatic cells in vivo and in vitro with methotrexate causes a reduction in the folate pools. Data presented in these studies show that the activity of gamma-glutamyl hydrolase in cells can be enhanced by prior exposure to methotrexate. Thus, methotrexate could cause a loss in cellular folylpolyglutamates by enhancing their rate of cleavage to folylmonoglutamates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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