Similar 150-kilobase DNA sequences are amplified in independently derived methotrexate-resistant Chinese hamster cells.
We have isolated overlapping recombinant cosmids that represent 150 kilobases of contiguous DNA sequence from the amplified dihydrofolate reductase domain of a methotrexate-resistant Chinese hamster ovary cell line (CHOC 400). This sequence includes the 25-kilobase dihydrofolate reductase gene and an origin of DNA synthesis. Eight cosmids that span this domain have been utilized as radioactive hybridization probes to analyze the similarities among the dihydrofolate reductase amplicons in four independently derived methotrexate-resistant Chinese hamster cell lines. We have observed no significant differences among the four cell lines within the 150-kilobase DNA sequence that we have examined, except for polymorphisms that result from the amplification of one or the other of two possible alleles of the dihydrofolate reductase domain. We also show that the restriction patterns of the amplicons in these four resistant cell lines are virtually identical to that of the corresponding, unamplified sequence in drug-susceptible parental cells. Furthermore, measurements of the relative copy numbers of fragments from widely separated regions of the amplicon suggest that all fragments in this 150-kilobase region may be amplified in unison. Our data show that in methotrexate-resistant Chinese hamster cells, the amplified unit is large relative to the dihydrofolate reductase gene itself. Furthermore, within the 150-kilobase amplified consensus sequence that we have examined, significant rearrangements do not seem to occur during the amplification process.