Role of the Cellular Oxidation-Reduction State in Methotrexate Binding to Dihydrofolate Reductase and Dissociation Induced by Reduced Folates

Larry H. Matherly, Linda A. Anderson, I. David Goldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


5-Formyltetrahydrofolate promotes the net dissociation of methotrexate bound to dihydrofolate reductase in the Ehrlich ascites tumor (L. H. Matheriy ef al., Cancer Res., 43: 2694-2699, 1983). Treatment of Ehrlich tumor cells with glucose or inhibitors of electron transfer stabilized the association of the antifolate with dihydrofolate reductase as reflected by a 2-fokj increased fraction of dihydrofolate reductase-bound methotrexate and an abolition of the 5-formyrtetrahydrofolate-induced dissociation of the inhibitor-enzyme complex. Glucose and azide were also found to increase the intracellular ratio of reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) to oxidized nicotinamide adenine dinudeotide phosphate (NADP+) in the tumor approximately 8- and 11-fold, respectively. However, other agents which enhanced the association between methotrexate and its target enzyme were less effective in increasing the intracellular level of NADPH relative to NADP*. Mfcromolar concentrations of NADPH promoted methotrexate binding to the purified Ehrlich tumor dihydrofolate reductase. Bound methotrexate could be dissociated from the purified enzyme by 5-methyltetrahydrofolate but less readily by 5-formyltetrahydrofol-ate and only in the presence of reduced levels of NADPH relative to NADP+. The tetraglutamate derivative of 5-methyltetrahydro-folate was even more effective than the underivatized compound in dissociating methotrexate from dihydrofolate reductase. These findings suggest a critical role for the cellular oxidation-reduction state in determining the affinity of dihydrofolate reductase for methotrexate and thus the cellular sensitivity to the antifolate. In addition, the data are consistent with the possibility that dihydrofolate reductase is a key locus for intracellular competitive interactions between reduced folates and methotrexate during teu-covorin rescue from the pharmacological effects of the antifolate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2325-2330
Number of pages6
JournalCancer research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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