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

Activity and substrate specificity of pyrimidine phosphorylases and their role in fluoropyrimidine sensitivity in colon cancer cell lines.

Thymidine phosphorylase (TP) and uridine phosphorylase (UP) are often upregulated in solid tumors and catalyze the phosphorolysis of natural (deoxy)nucleosides and a wide variety of fluorinated pyrimidine nucleosides. Because the relative contribution of each of the two enzymes to these reactions is still largely unknown, we investigated the substrate specificity of TP and UP in colon cancer cells for the (fluoro)pyrimidine nucleosides thymidine (TdR), uridine (Urd), 5'-deoxy-5-fluorouridine (5'DFUR), and 5FU. Specific inhibitors of TP ( TPI) and UP (BAU) were used to determine the contribution of each enzyme in relation to their cytotoxic effect. The high TP expressing Colo320TP1 cells were most sensitive to 5'DFUR and 5FU, with IC(50) values of 1.4 and 0.2muM, respectively, while SW948 and SW1398 were insensitive to 5'DFUR (IC(50)>150muM for 5'DFUR). TPI and BAU only moderately affected sensitivity of Colo320, SW948, and SW1398, whereas TPI significantly increased IC(50) for 5'DFUR (50-fold) and 5FU (11-fold) in Colo320TP1 and BAU that in C26A (9-fold for 5'DFUR; p<0.01). In the epithelial skin cell line HaCaT both inhibitors were able to decrease sensitivity to 5'DFUR and 5FU separately. HaCaT might be a model for 5'DFUR toxicity. In the colon cancer cells 5'DFUR degradation varied from 0.4 to 50nmol5FU/h/10(6)cells, that of TdR from 0.3 to 103nmolthymine/h/10(6)cells, that of Urd from 0.8 to 79nmoluracil/h/10(6)cells, while conversion of 5FU to FUrd was from 0.3 to 46nmol/h/10(6)cells. SW948 and SW1398 were about equally sensitive to 5'DFUR and 5FU, but SW1398 had higher phosphorylase activity (>65-fold) compared to SW948. In SW948 and HaCaT TPI and BAU inhibited TdR and Urd phosphorolysis (>80%), respectively. Both TP and UP contributed to the phosphorolysis of 5'DFUR and 5FU. In the presence of both inhibitors, still phosphorolysis of 5FU (>40%) was detected in the tumor and HaCaT cell lines, and remarkably, that of all four substrates in SW1398 cells. 5'DFUR phosphorolysis was also measured in situ, where Colo320TP1, SW1398, and HaCaT cells produced significant amounts 5FU from 5'DFUR (>10nmol/24h/10(6)cells). In Colo320TP1 and in HaCaT cells TPI completely prevented 5FU production, but not in SW1398 cells, where BAU decreased this by 67% (p<0.01). High uracil and dUrd levels were detected in the medium. Uracil accumulation was heavily reduced in the presence of TPI for Colo320TP1 and HaCaT cells, whereas 5FU-induced dUrd production by these cell lines increased (p<0.01). In contrast, for SW1398 cells only BAU was able to reduce uracil levels, and dUrd production remained unchanged. In conclusion, overlapping substrate specificity was found for TP and UP in the cell lines, in which both enzymes were responsible for converting TdR and Urd, and 5'DFUR. 5'DFUR and 5FU were converted to their products in both the colon cancer cells and keratinocytes.[1]


  1. Activity and substrate specificity of pyrimidine phosphorylases and their role in fluoropyrimidine sensitivity in colon cancer cell lines. Temmink, O.H., de Bruin, M., Turksma, A.W., Cricca, S., Laan, A.C., Peters, G.J. Int. J. Biochem. Cell Biol. (2007) [Pubmed]
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