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Escherichia coli aspartate transcarbamylase: a novel marker for studies of gene amplification and expression in mammalian cells.

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  • Research Article
  • Biology


Eucaryotic expression vectors containing the Escherichia coli pyrB gene (pyrB encodes the catalytic subunit of aspartate transcarbamylase [ATCase]) and the Tn5 phosphotransferase gene (G418 resistance module) were transfected into a mutant Chinese hamster ovary cell line possessing a CAD multifunctional protein lacking ATCase activity. G418-resistant transformants were isolated and analyzed for ATCase activity, the ability to complement the CAD ATCase defect, and the ability to resist high concentrations of the ATCase inhibitor N-(phosphonacetyl)-L-aspartate (PALA) by amplifying the donated pyrB gene sequences. We report that bacterial ATCase is expressed in these lines, that it complements the CAD ATCase defect in trans, and that its amplification engenders PALA resistance. In addition, we derived rapid and sensitive assay conditions which enable the determination of bacterial ATCase enzyme activity in the presence of mammalian ATCase.

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