We have isolated two Chinese hamster ovary cell lines, designated ADR-4 and ADR-5, which exhibit hypersensitivity to intercalating agents and epipodophyllotoxins. These drugs are thought to exert their cytotoxicity via an interaction with the enzyme topoisomerase II. However, there is no apparent change in the level or catalytic activity of topoisomerase II in the mutant cells. Drug sensitivity does not appear to be due to increased drug transport because accumulation of radiolabeled actinomycin D is similar in mutant and wild-type cells. Both mutant cell lines show enhanced resistance to hydrogen peroxide and to organic peroxides. ADR-4 cells show a degree of temperature sensitivity. ADR-5 cells show mild sensitivity to UV irradiation. Neither cell line shows significant sensitivity to mono- or bifunctional alkylating agents, ionizing radiation, or bleomycin.

Cell fusion studies indicate that the phenotype of each mutant cell line is recessive and that the mutants represent two different genetic complementation groups. These studies also indicate that ADR-4 and ADR-5 are in different complementation groups from the previously described Adriamycin-sensitive mutant, ADR-1. These results indicate that sensitivity to topoisomerase II inhibitors can result from abnormalities in several genes. These drug-sensitive mutants may be useful for studying the mechanisms of cell killing by topoisomerase II inhibitors, free radicals, and heat.


This work was supported by North of England Children's Cancer Research and the North of England Cancer Research Campaign. S. M. D. is a Medical Research Council Training Fellow.

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