Multidrug resistance-associated protein 1 (MRP1) is one of the major proteins shown to mediate efflux transport of a broad range of antitumor drugs, glucuronide conjugates, and glutathione, in addition to endogenous substrates. Significant differences in substrate selectivity were reported for murine and human MRP1. As preclinical drug disposition and pharmacokinetics studies are often conducted in rats, we have recently cloned the rat MRP1 (rMRP1) and demonstrated that rMRP1 expressed in transfected cells effluxes calcein, a commonly used fluorescence substrate for human MRP1. To further characterize the rat ortholog of MRP1, we isolated a cell line stably expressing recombinant rMRP1. These cells were tested for their ability to transport calcein and a range of chemotherapeutic drugs. Our results showed that cells expressing rMRP1 consistently efflux calcein at a rate 5-fold greater than control cells. The rMRP1 transfected cells, like their human ortholog, can confer drug resistance to vinca alkaloid (vinblastine and vincristine) and anthracycline drugs (daunorubcin and doxorubicin), and the resistance conferred by the MRP1 can be partially abolished by the MRP-specific inhibitors. The transepithelial permeability due to rMRP1 expression in differentiated Madin-Darby canine kidney cells (MDCK) cells was also investigated. The MRP1 transport activity is directional, as demonstrated by directional vinblastine transport. Collectively, our results demonstrate that the cellular expression of rMRP1, like its human ortholog, could confer resistance to anticancer drugs.
Keywords: rat, MRP1, drug resistance, chemotherapeutic agents, cytotoxicity, transport, ATP-binding cassette, transwell