Selection for the expression of one form of Chinese hamster dihydrofolate reductase over another during growth in methotrexate

Arif Hussain, Honghao Yanga, Jennifer Protzman, Peter W. Melera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Two mammalian expression plasmids, each carrying a cDNA encoding a different allele of dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) present in the Chinese hamster lung cell line DC-3F, were constructed. These simian virus 40 promoter-enhancerbased plasmids, designated pSVA75 and pSVMQ19, are identical except for a G→A transition at nucleotide 286 of the DHFR coding sequence. Due to this change, the enzyme expressed by pSVA75 contains Asp95, while the enzyme expressed by pSVMQ19 has Asn95 [Melera et al., J. Biol. Chem. (1988) 1978-1990]. Both forms of the enzyme are catalytically equivalent and are produced to similar levels in DC-3F cells [Yu and Melera, Cancer Res. (1993) 6031-6035; H.Y., A.H. and P.W.M., in preparation]. Clonal cell lines expressing one or the other DHFR allele were obtained via transfection of DHFR - Chinese hamster ovary cells, and 74 clones of each type isolated. These were pooled and divided into 40 aliquots, each of which was then subjected to selection by growth in sequentially increasing concentrations of methotrexate (MTX). Analysis of the resulting drug-resistant populations revealed that cells producing Asp95 DHFR dominated with an overall frequency of 3:1, and therefore, under these growth conditions, display a selective advantage over those producing Asn95 DHFR. These data extend previous observations showing that independent selections of the heterozygous parent cell line DC-3F in MTX result in threefold more MTX-resistant lines overexpressing the Asp95-encoding DHFR allele than the Asn95-encoding DHFR allele. Moreover, these results demonstrate that preferential selection for the expression of one DHFR allele over the other in DC-3F cells can be accounted for solely by differences in the enzymes themselves, a result consistent with recent biochemical studies demonstrating that the Asp95 enzyme displays a dissociation constant for MTX that is 2.7-fold higher than the Asn95 enzyme [Yu and Melera, Cancer Res. (1993) 6031-6035].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-282
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 8 1994
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics


  • Recombinant DNA
  • polymerase chain reaction
  • polymorphism
  • transfection

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