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Cell cycle-specific metabolism of arabinosyl nucleosides in K562 human leukemia cells


Exponentially growing K562 cells incubated with 1-β-d-arabinofuranosylcytosine (ara-C) accumulate ara-C triphosphate (ara-CTP) at a higher rate and to a greater concentration after pretreatment with 9-β-d-ara-binofuranosyl-2-fluoroadenine (F-ara-A) than do cells treated with ara-C alone. Potentiation of ara-C metabolism is due in part to an indirect effect of F-ara-A triphosphate (F-ara-ATP)-mediated reduction in deoxynucleotide pools and consequent activation of deoxycytidine kinase. Because the levels of deoxynucleotide pools and the activity of deoxycytidine kinase are cell cycle-specific, we investigated the effect of cell cycle phases on the accumulation of ara-CTP and the influence of F-ara-A pretreatment on such accumulation. Exponentially growing K562 cells were fractionated into G1, S, and G2+M phase-enriched subpopulations (each enriched by >60%) by centrifugal elutriation. The rate of ara-CTP accumulation was 22, 25, and 14 μm/h and the rate of F-ara-ATP accumulation was 38, 47, and 33 μm/h in the G1, S, and G2+M subpopulations, respectively. The rate of elimination of arabinosyl triphosphates was similar among the different phases of the cell cycle. After pretreatment with F-ara-A, the rate of ara-CTP accumulation in the G1, S, and G2+M phase-enriched subpopulations was 43, 37, and 26 μm/h, indicating a 1.7-, 1.5-, and 1.9-fold increase, respectively. These results suggest that a combination of F-ara-A and ara-C may effectively potentiate ara-CTP accumulation in all phases of the cell cycle. This observation is consistent with the results of studies on the modulation of ara-C metabolism by F-ara-A in lymphocytes and leukemia blasts obtained from patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and acute myelogenous leukemia, respectively.

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Correspondence to Varsha Gandhi.

Additional information

Supported in part by grants CA 28596 and CA 16672 from the National Cancer Institute, Department of Health and Human Services, and by grant DHP-I from the American Cancer Society

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Gandhi, V., Plunkett, W. Cell cycle-specific metabolism of arabinosyl nucleosides in K562 human leukemia cells. Cancer Chemother. Pharmacol. 31, 11–17 (1992).

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  • Leukemia
  • Nucleoside
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
  • Acute Myelogenous Leukemia
  • Cell Cycle Phase