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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A crucial role of uridine/cytidine kinase 2 in antitumor activity of 3'-ethynyl nucleosides.

The antitumor 3'-ethynyl nucleosides, 1-(3-C-ethynyl-beta-D-ribopentofuranosyl)cytosine (ECyd) and 1-(3-C-ethynyl-beta-D-ribopentofuranosyl)uridine (EUrd), are potent inhibitors of RNA polymerases and show excellent antitumor activity against various human solid tumors in xenograft models. ECyd is being investigated in phase I clinical trials as a novel anticancer drug possessing a unique antitumor action. ECyd and EUrd require the activity of uridine/cytidine kinase ( UCK) to produce the corresponding active metabolite. The UCK family consists of two members, UCK1 and UCK2, and both UCKs are expressed in many tumor cells. It was unclear, however, whether UCK1 or UCK2 is responsible for the phosphorylation of the 3'-ethynyl nucleosides. We therefore established cell lines that are highly resistant to the 3'-ethynyl nucleosides from human fibrosarcoma HT-1080 and gastric carcinoma NUGC-3. All the resistant cell lines showed a high cross-resistance to ECyd and EUrd. As a result of cDNA sequence analysis, we found that UCK2 mRNA expressed in EUrd-resistant HT-1080 cells has a 98-base pair deletion of exon 5, whereas EUrd-resistant NUGC-3 cells were harboring the point mutation at nucleotide position 484 (C to T) within exon 4 of UCK2 mRNA. This mutation was confirmed by genome sequence analysis of the UCK2 gene. Moreover, the expression of UCK2 protein was decreased in these resistant cells. In contrast, no mutation in the mRNA or differences in protein expression levels of UCK1 were shown in the EUrd-resistant HT-1080 and NUGC-3 cells. These results suggest that UCK2 is responsible for the phosphorylation and activation of the antitumor 3'-ethynyl nucleosides.[1]


  1. A crucial role of uridine/cytidine kinase 2 in antitumor activity of 3'-ethynyl nucleosides. Murata, D., Endo, Y., Obata, T., Sakamoto, K., Syouji, Y., Kadohira, M., Matsuda, A., Sasaki, T. Drug Metab. Dispos. (2004) [Pubmed]
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