In vitro effects of bryostatin 1 on the metabolism and cytotoxicity of 1-β-d-arabinofuranosylcytosine in human leukemia cells

Steven Grant, Lawrence Boise, Eric Westin, Craig Howe, George Pettit, Amy Turner, Carl McCrady

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21 Scopus citations


Bryostatin 1 is a macrocyclic lactone protein kinase C (PK-C) activator which has demonstrated promising antileukemic activity in preclinical studies. We have examined the effect of this agent on the metabolism and cytotoxicity of 1-β-d-arabinofuranosylcytosine (ara-C) in both log phase and high-density human promyelocytic leukemia cells (HL-60). Exposure of low-density cells to 12.5 nM bryostatin 1 for 24 hr prior to a 4-hr incubation with 1 or 10 μM ara-C resulted in nearly a 2-fold increase in ara-CTP formation. When cells were maintained under high-cell density conditions (e.g. 5 × 106 cells/ mL) for 24 hr prior to ara-C exposure, a 90% reduction in ara-CTP formation and ara-C DNA incorporation was observed. However, coincubation of high-density cells with bryostatin 1 for 24 hr increased ara-CTP formation 6- to 8-fold, yielding levels essentially equivalent to those achieved in low-density cells. Smaller (but still significant) increases in ara-C DNA incorporation were also noted. Enhancement of ara-CTP formation by bryostatin 1 occurred over a broad ara-C concentration range (0.1 to 100 μM), involved a temperature-dependent process, could not be mimicked by addition of hematopoietic growth factors, and was not related to neutralization of toxic or inhibitory substances in high-density medium. Exposure of cells to bryostatin 1 did not lead to morphologic or functional evidence of HL-60 cell maturation or an increase in cell viability, but did produce a decline in cellular proliferative activity as determined by thymidine and bromodeoxyuridine incorporation and cytofluorometric analysis. Bryostatin 1 did not exert its effects in high-density cells by inhibiting ara-C deamination or by interfering with ara-CTP dephosphorylation, but instead appeared to act by enhancing ara-C phosphorylation. Although cell-free extracts obtained from high-density cells exposed to bryostatin 1 exhibited levels of deoxycytidine kinase activity compared to controls, treated cells did display a significant decline in intracellular dCTP levels (e.g. 0.7 vs 1.3 solpmol 106), and nearly a 2-fold increase in ATP and UTP concentrations. Ara-CTP formation was also increased substantially by other PK-C activators including phorbol dibutyrate and mezerein (10-100 nM); this process was inhibited more than 70% by the PK-C inhibitor H-7 (50 μM), but not by the PK-C inhibitors staurosporine, tamoxifen, and HA1004. Finally, coadministration of ara-C and bryostatin 1 resulted in greater than expected inhibitory effects toward HL-60 cell clonogenic growth. These findings suggest that the novel agent bryostatin 1 induces biochemical perturbations in leukemic cells that favor ara-C activation, particularly in high-density cells exhibiting impaired ara-C nucleotide formation. They also raise the possibility that pharmacologie agents acting through second messenger pathways may modulate the metabolism of ara-C, and potentially other nucleoside analogs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)853-867
Number of pages15
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 25 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology


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