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We have previously reported the isolation of 3 mutants of Chinese hamster ovary cells which exhibit hypersensitivity to bleomycin. 2 mutants were isolated on the basis of bleomycin-sensitivity [designated BLM-1 and BLM-2, Robson et al., Cancer Res., 45 (1985) 5304-5309] and 1 as adriamycin-sensitive [ADR-1, Robson et al., Cancer Res., 47 (1987) 1560-1565]. Because bleomycin generates DNA-strand breaks via a free-radical mechanism, we have studied the survival response of these mutants to a range of drugs which also generate free radicals and consequently DNA-strand breaks. The mutants are all hypersensitive to phleomycin, which differs from bleomycin in being unable to intercalate due to a modified bithiazole moiety. However, BLM-2 cells alone are hypersensitive to pepleomycin, a semi-synthetic bleomycin analogue. In contrast, BLM-1 cells are more sensitive than BLM-2 to streptonigrin (which operates via a hydroquinone intermediate). ADR-1 cells show wild-type resistance to streptonigrin. The results obtained with neocarzinostatin, an antibiotic requiring thiol activation, are unusual in that both BLM-1 and BLM-2 are approximately 3-fold more resistant than parental cells. However, the steady-state intracellular level of the major non-protein thiol, glutathione, is not altered in BLM-1 or BLM-2 cells. ADR-1 cells show essentially wild-type resistance to neocarzinostatin. Analysis of cell hybrids shows that BLM-1 and BLM-2 cells are phenotypically recessive in combination with parental CHO-K1 cells and represent different genetic complementation groups not only from one another, but also from the bleomycin-sensitive mutant xrs-6, isolated on the basis of X-ray sensitivity by Jeggo and Kemp [Mutation Res., 112 (1983) 313-319]. These results indicate that at least 3 gene products are involved in cellular protection against bleomycin toxicity in mammalian cells.


Journal article


Mutat Res

Publication Date





157 - 165


Animals, Antibiotics, Antineoplastic, Bleomycin, Cell Line, Cricetinae, Cricetulus, Drug Resistance, Genetic Complementation Test, Glutathione, Intracellular Fluid, Mutation, Peplomycin, Phleomycins, X-Rays, Zinostatin