CH2-H4PteGlu and H4PteGlu exist in human colon adenocarcinoma xenografts predominantly in the form of polyglutamate species at concentrations of < 3 μM. The interaction of polyglutamates of [6R]CH2,-H4PteGlu in the formation and stability of [6-3H]FdUMP-thymidylate synthase-CH2-H4PteGlun ternary complexes has therefore been examined using enzyme purified from a human colon adenocarcinoma xenograft. Dissociation of these complexes was first-order and was dependent upon the concentration of folate. [6R]CH2-H4PteGlu3-6 (0.9 to 1.6 μM) were >200-fold and [6R]CH2-H4PteGlu2 (18.2 μm) was 18-fold more effective than [6R]CH2-H4PteGlu1 (335 μM) at stabilizing ternary complexes for a T 1 2 for dissociation of 100 min. Polyglutamylation of CH2-H4PteGlu also increased the affinity of binding of [6-3H]FdUMP to thymidylate synthase as determined by Scatchard analysis at folate concentrations of 10 μM, where the Kd in the presence of [6R]CH2-H4PteGlu1 was in the order of 4.0 × 10-8 M, and for [6R]CH2-H4PteGlu3-5 was between 3.7 and 5.5 × 10-9 M. To examine whether this effect was due to differences in the rates at which [6-3H]FdUMP was bound (kon) or dissociated (koff) from the enzyme, the apparent rate of [6-3H]FdUMP binding was determined in the presence of [6R]CH2H4PteGlu1, [6R]CH2-H4PteGlu3 and [6R]CH2-H4PteGlu4. The kon values were similar and were in the range of 1.7 to 2.3 × 106M-1 min-1 for 10 or 20 μM folate concentrations. Differences in binding affinity determined for [6R]CH2-H4PteGlu1 and longer polyglutamate forms of [6R]CH2-H4PteGlu were thus due to differences in koff. The Vmax for the initial velocity of [6-3H]FdUMP binding was achieved at 10 μM folate. Consequently, at concentrations of CH2-H4PteGlu polyglutamates present in tumors, inhibition of thymidylate synthase by FdUMP in vivo would be expected to be transient, based upon the concentration of [6R]CH2-H4PteGlun required for maximal formation and stability of the covalent ternary complex. It would be advantageous for modulation of CH2-H4PteGlun pools to increase the concentrations of the longer polyglutamate species (n ≥ 3) to maximize the interaction between FdUMP, thymidylate synthase and CH2-H4PteGlu.
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