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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1980 Jul;77(7):4216-20.

Isolation of Chinese hamster cell mutants deficient in dihydrofolate reductase activity.


Mutants of Chinese hamster ovary cells lacking dihydrofolate reductase (tetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase, 7,8-dihydrofolate:NADP+ oxidoreductase; EC activity were isolated after mutagenesis and exposure to high-specific-activity [3H]deoxyuridine as a selective agent. Fully deficient mutants could not be isolated starting with wild-type cells, but could readily be selected from a putative heterozygote that contains half of the wild-type level of dihydrofolate reductase activity. The heterozygote itself was selected from wild-type cells by using [3H]deoxyuridine together with methotrexate to reduce intracellular dihydrofolate reductase activity. Fully deficient mutants require glycine, a purine, and thymidine for growth; this phenotype is recessive to wild type in cell hybrids. Revertants have been isolated, one of which produces a heat-labile dihydrofolate reductase activity. These mutants may be useful for metabolic studies relating to cancer chemotherapy and for fine-structure genetic mapping of mutations by using available molecular probes for this gene.

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