Biochimica et biophysica acta

IMP-GMP specific cytosolic 5'-nucleotidase regulates nucleotide pool and prodrug metabolism.

PMID 25857773


Type II cytosolic 5'-nucleotidase (cN-II) catalyzes the hydrolysis of purine and, to some extent, of pyrimidine monophosphates. Recently, a number of papers demonstrated the involvement of cN-II in the mechanisms of resistance to antitumor drugs such as cytarabine, gemcitabine and fludarabine. Furthermore, cN-II is involved in drug resistance in patients affected by hematological malignancies influencing the clinical outcome. Although the implication of cN-II expression and/or activity appears to be correlated with drug resistance and poor prognosis, the molecular mechanism by which cN-II mediates drug resistance is still unknown. HEK 293 cells carrying an expression vector coding for cN-II linked to green fluorescent protein (GFP) and a control vector without cN-II were utilized. A highly sensitive capillary electrophoresis method was applied for nucleotide pool determination and cytotoxicity exerted by drugs was determined with 3-(4,5-dimethyl-2-thiazolyl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Over-expression of cN-II causes a drop of nucleoside triphosphate concentration and a general disturbance of nucleotide pool. Over-expressing cells were resistant to fludarabine, gemcitabine and cytarabine independently of cN-II ability to hydrolyze their monophosphates. An increase of cN-II expression is sufficient to cause both a general disturbance of nucleotide pool and an increase of half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) of the drugs. Since the monophosphates of cytarabine and gemcitabine are not substrates of cN-II, the protection observed cannot be directly ascribed to drug inactivation. Our results indicate that cN-II exerts a relevant role in nucleotide and drug metabolism through not only enzyme activity but also a mechanism involving a protein-protein interaction, thus playing a general regulatory role in cell survival. Resistance to fludarabine, gemcitabine and cytarabine can be determined by an increase of cN-II both through dephosphorylation of active drugs and perturbation of nucleotide pool.