Amplification of specific DNA sequences correlates with multi-drug resistance in Chinese hamster cells


Mammalian cells selected for resistance to certain cytotoxic drugs frequently develop cross-resistance to a broad spectrum of other drugs unrelated in structure to the original selective agent1,2. This phenomenon constitutes a major problem in cancer chemotherapy. Multi-drug resistance arises from decreased intracellular drug accumulation1–4, apparently due to an alteration of the plasma membrane2,5–7. The observation of double minute chromosomes or homogeneously staining regions in some of the multi-drug-resistant cell lines8–12 suggests that gene amplification underlies this phenomenon. We have used the technique of DNA renaturation in agarose gels13 to detect, compare and clone amplified DNA sequences in Adriamycin- and colchicine-resistant sublines of Chinese hamster cells3,12. We show that both Adriamycin- and colchicine-resistant cells contain amplified DNA fragments, some of which are amplified in both of these independently derived cell lines. Furthermore, loss of the multi-drug resistance phenotype on growth in the absence of drugs correlates with the loss of amplified DNA. These results strongly suggest that the DNA sequences which are amplified in common in multi-drug-resistant cell lines include the gene(s) responsible for a common mechanism of multi-drug resistance in these cells. We have cloned one of the commonly amplified DNA fragments and show that the degree of amplification of this fragment in the cells correlates with the degree of their drug resistance.

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Roninson, I., Abelson, H., Housman, D. et al. Amplification of specific DNA sequences correlates with multi-drug resistance in Chinese hamster cells. Nature 309, 626–628 (1984).

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