We have constructed a truncated E. coli O6-methylguanine methyltransferase (MT) gene (ada gene) to express the MT activity for O6-methylguanine and O4-methylthymine but not for methylphosphotriester in human cells and transferred it into Mer-HeLle MR cells. The transfectant cells expressed the truncated O6-E. coli MT were resistant to alkylating agents as same as the transfectant cells with the intact ada gene in cell killing, sister-chromatid exchange induction and host-cell reactivation of adenovirus 5. The results strongly suggest that methylphosphotriester may not contribute to the biological effect of alkylating agents in human cells.
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