Mutations in the ada O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase conferring sensitivity to inactivation by O6-benzylguanine and 2,4-diamino-6-benzyloxy-5-nitrosopyrimidine

Tina M. Crone, Sreenivas Knaugula, Anthony E. Pegg

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35 Scopus citations


Although the human O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltrans-ferase (AGT) is very sensitive to inactivation by O6-benzyl-guanine (BG) or 2,4-diamino-6-benzyloxy-5-nitrosopyri-midine (5-nitroso-BP), the equivalent protein formed by the carboxyl terminal domain of the product of the Escher-ichia coli ada gene (Ada-C) is unaffected by these inhibitors. This difference is remarkable in view of the substantial similarity between these proteins (33% of the residues in the common sequence are identical) and is potentially very important since these inhibitors are under development as drugs to enhance the anti-tumor activity of alkylatlng agents. In order to understand the reason for the resistance of the Ada-C protein, we have made chimeras between Ada-C and AGT sequences and mutations in the Ada-C protein, expressed the altered proteins in an E. coli strain lacking endogenous alkyltransferase activity and tested the inactivation of the resulting proteins by BG or 5-nitroso-BP. Chimeric alkyltransferase proteins were made in which the residues on the amino side of the cysteine acceptor site came from Ada-C and the residues on the carboxyl side came from AGT and vice versa but these did not show sensitivity to BG suggesting that resistance is produced by residues in both segments of the protein. Analysis of the Ada-C mutant proteins revealed two sites for mutations that confer sensitivity to these inhibitors. One of these was tryptophan-336 and the other was residues lysine-314 and alanine-316. Thus, when the combined mutations of A316P/W336A were made in the Ada-C sequence, the protein was sensitive to inactivation by BG. This A316P/W336A mutant protein was even more sensitive to 5-nitroso-BP and the mutant proteins W336A, K314P/A316P and A316P could also be inhibited by this drug (in decreasing order of sensitivity) although the control Ada-C and a mutant R335S were not inhibited. These results provide strong support for the hypothesis that the resistance of the Ada-C alkyltransferase is due to a steric effect limiting access to the active site. Insertion of proline residues at positions 314 and 316 and removal of the bulky tryptophan residue at position 336 increases the space available at the active site and permits these inhibitors to be effective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1687-1692
Number of pages6
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cancer Research


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