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1.  ABCB1 regulation through LRPPRC is influenced by the methylation status of the GC -100 box in its promoter 
Epigenetics  2014;9(8):1172-1183.
One of the potential mechanisms of imatinib mesylate (IM) resistance in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is increased level of P-glycoprotein (Pgp). Pgp is an efflux pump capable of activating the multidrug resistance (MDR) phenotype. The gene encoding Pgp (ABCB1) has several binding sites in its promoter region, along with CpG islands and GC boxes, involved in its epigenetic control. In previous work, we performed a proteomic study to identify proteins involved in IM cross-resistance in acute leukemia. Among these proteins, we identified LRPPRC as a potential regulator of ABCB1 transcription via an invMED1 binding site in ABCB1. Interestingly, this invMED1 binding site overlaps with the GC -100 box. In this work, we investigated the potential role of LRPPRC in the regulation of ABCB1 transcriptional activity in CML resistance. In addition, we evaluated the potential connection between this regulation and the methylation status of the ABCB1 promoter in its GC -100 box. Our results show that LRPPRC binds prominently to the ABCB1 promoter in Lucena cells, an IM-resistant cell line. Luciferase assays showed that ABCB1 transcription is positively regulated by LRPPRC upon its knockdown. Pyrosequencing analysis showed that the ABCB1 promoter is differentially methylated at its GC -100 box in K562 cells compared with Lucena cells, and in CML patients with different response to IM. Chromatin immunoprecipitation and Pgp expression after DNA demethylation treatment showed that LRPPRC binding is affected by the methylation status of ABCB1 GC -100 box. Taken together, our findings indicate that LRPPRC is a transcription factor related to ABCB1 expression and highlight the importance of epigenetic regulation in CML resistance.
PMCID: PMC4164502  PMID: 25089713
multidrug resistance; LRPPRC; methylation; ABCB1; chronic myeloid leukemia
2.  Epigenetic mechanisms involved in differential MDR1 mRNA expression between gastric and colon cancer cell lines and rationales for clinical chemotherapy 
BMC Gastroenterology  2008;8:33.
The membrane transporters such as P-glycoprotein (Pgp), the MDR1 gene product, are one of causes of treatment failure in cancer patients. In this study, the epigenetic mechanisms involved in differential MDR1 mRNA expression were compared between 10 gastric and 9 colon cancer cell lines.
The MDR1 mRNA levels were determined using PCR and real-time PCR assays after reverse transcription. Cytotoxicity was performed using the MTT assay. Methylation status was explored by quantification PCR-based methylation and bisulfite DNA sequencing analyses.
The MDR1 mRNA levels obtained by 35 cycles of RT-PCR in gastric cancer cells were just comparable to those obtained by 22 cycles of RT-PCR in colon cancer cells. Real-time RT-PCR analysis revealed that MDR1 mRNA was not detected in the 10 gastric cancer cell lines but variable MDR1 mRNA levels in 7 of 9 colon cancer cell lines except the SNU-C5 and HT-29 cells. MTT assay showed that Pgp inhibitors such as cyclosporine A, verapamil and PSC833 sensitized Colo320HSR (colon, highest MDR1 expression) but not SNU-668 (gastric, highest) and SNU-C5 (gastric, no expression) to paclitaxel. Quantification PCR-based methylation analysis revealed that 90% of gastric cancer cells, and 33% of colon cancer cells were methylated, which were completely matched with the results obtained by bisulfite DNA sequencing analysis. 5-aza-2'-deoxcytidine (5AC, a DNA methyltransferase inhibitor) increased the MDR1 mRNA levels in 60% of gastric cells, and in 11% of colon cancer cells. Trichostatin A (TSA, histone deacetylase inhibitor) increased the MDR1 mRNA levels in 70% of gastric cancer cells and 55% of colon cancer cells. The combined treatment of 5AC with TSA increased the MDR1 mRNA levels additively in 20% of gastric cancer cells, but synergistically in 40% of gastric and 11% of colon cancer cells.
These results indicate that the MDR1 mRNA levels in gastric cancer cells are significantly lower than those in colon cancer cells, which is at least in part due to different epigenetic regulations such as DNA methylation and/or histone deacetylation. These results can provide a better understanding of the efficacy of combined chemotherapy as well as their oral bioavailability.
PMCID: PMC2529328  PMID: 18673531
3.  Dose-Dependent Targeted Suppression of P-glycoprotein Expression and Function in Caco-2 Cells 
Molecular Pharmaceutics  2013;10(6):2323-2330.
The efflux transporter P-glycoprotein (Pgp), encoded by the ABCB1 gene, decreases the bioavailability of a wide range of orally administered drugs. Drug permeability studies using the in vitro Caco-2 cell model commonly rely on small molecule modulators to estimate the contribution of Pgp to drug efflux. The use of such modulators may be limited by their interactions with other membrane transporters. RNA interference, a tool allowing for the specific degradation of a target gene’s mRNA, has emerged as a technique to study gene expression and function. This manuscript describes the use of chemically modified small interfering RNA (siRNA) for a dose-dependent suppression of ABCB1 in Caco-2 cells and the subsequent drug permeability assay. We transfected Caco-2 cells while in suspension with chemically modified synthetic siRNA–lipid complexes and then seeded the cells on polycarbonate semipermeable supports. Once the monolayer of Caco-2 cells formed tight junctions and expressed brush border enzymes, we determined the dose-dependent suppression of the ABCB1 gene using RT-qPCR. We measured the duration of silencing at the optimal siRNA dose by Western blot for Pgp protein. The utility of this in vitro model was determined by performing bidirectional transport studies using a well-established substrate for Pgp, rhodamine 123. A single 4 h transfection of the Caco-2 cells with ≥100 nM siRNA reduced the expression of ABCB1 mRNA by >85% at day five in culture. The time-course study revealed that the single transfection reduces Pgp protein levels for 9 days in culture. This magnitude of silencing was sufficient to reduce the efflux of rhodamine 123 as measured by the apparent permeability coefficient and intracellular accumulation. In this study, we demonstrate the dose-dependent, targeted degradation of Pgp in Caco-2 cells as a new model for assessing drug efflux from enterocytes. The dose-dependent nature of the Pgp silencing in this study offers significant improvements over other approaches to creating a Caco-2 model with suppressed ABCB1 expression. We envision that this technique, in conjunction with better small molecule inhibitors, will provide a useful tool for future drug permeability studies.
PMCID: PMC3674641  PMID: 23611024
drug transport; ATP-binding cassette transporters; P-glycoprotein; siRNA; gastrointestinal absorption; multidrug resistance
4.  Resistance to the Translation Initiation Inhibitor Silvestrol is Mediated by ABCB1/P-Glycoprotein Overexpression in Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Cells 
The AAPS Journal  2011;13(3):357-364.
Protein synthesis is a powerful therapeutic target in leukemias and other cancers, but few pharmacologically viable agents are available that affect this process directly. The plant-derived agent silvestrol specifically inhibits translation initiation by interfering with eIF4A/mRNA assembly with eIF4F. Silvestrol has potent in vitro and in vivo activity in multiple cancer models including acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and is under pre-clinical development by the US National Cancer Institute, but no information is available about potential mechanisms of resistance. In a separate report, we showed that intraperitoneal silvestrol is approximately 100% bioavailable systemically, although oral doses were only 1% bioavailable despite an apparent lack of metabolism. To explore mechanisms of silvestrol resistance and the possible role of efflux transporters in silvestrol disposition, we characterized multi-drug resistance transporter expression and function in a silvestrol-resistant ALL cell line generated via culture of the 697 ALL cell line in gradually increasing silvestrol concentrations. This resistant cell line, 697-R, shows significant upregulation of ABCB1 mRNA and P-glycoprotein (Pgp) as well as cross-resistance to known Pgp substrates vincristine and romidepsin. Furthermore, 697-R cells readily efflux the fluorescent Pgp substrate rhodamine 123. This effect is prevented by Pgp inhibitors verapamil and cyclosporin A, as well as siRNA to ABCB1, with concomitant re-sensitization to silvestrol. Together, these data indicate that silvestrol is a substrate of Pgp, a potential obstacle that must be considered in the development of silvestrol for oral delivery or targeting to tumors protected by Pgp overexpression.
PMCID: PMC3160166  PMID: 21538216
ABCB1; leukemia; multi-drug resistance; P-glycoprotein; silvestrol
5.  ABC transporters coordinately expressed during lignification of Arabidopsis stems include a set of ABCBs associated with auxin transport 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2011;62(6):2063-2077.
The primary inflorescence stem of Arabidopsis thaliana is rich in lignified cell walls, in both vascular bundles and interfascicular fibres. Previous gene expression studies demonstrated a correlation between expression of phenylpropanoid biosynthetic genes and a subset of genes encoding ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, especially in the ABCB/multi-drug resistance/P-glycoprotein (ABCB/MDR/PGP) and ABCG/pleiotropic drug resistance (ABCG/PDR) subfamilies. The objective of this study was to characterize these ABC transporters in terms of their gene expression and their function in development of lignified cells. Based on in silico analyses, four ABC transporters were selected for detailed investigation: ABCB11/MDR8, ABCB14/MDR12, ABCB15/MDR13, and ABCG33/PDR5. Promoter::glucuronidase reporter assays for each gene indicated that promoters of ABCB11, ABCB14, ABCB15, and ABCG33 transporters are active in the vascular tissues of primary stem, and in some cases in interfascicular tissues as well. Homozygous T-DNA insertion mutant lines showed no apparent irregular xylem phenotype or alterations in interfascicular fibre lignification or morphology in comparison with wild type. However, in abcb14-1 mutants, stem vascular morphology was slightly disorganized, with decreased phloem area in the vascular bundle and decreased xylem vessel lumen diameter. In addition, abcb14-1 mutants showed both decreased polar auxin transport through whole stems and altered auxin distribution in the procambium. It is proposed that both ABCB14 and ABCB15 promote auxin transport since inflorescence stems in both mutants showed a reduction in polar auxin transport, which was not observed for any of the ABCG subfamily mutants tested. In the case of ABCB14, the reduction in auxin transport is correlated with a mild disruption of vascular development in the inflorescence stem.
PMCID: PMC3060696  PMID: 21239383
Arabidopsis thaliana; ATP-binding cassette transporter; auxin; cis-element; lignin; monolignol; polar auxin transporter; vascular bundle
6.  Drug-Induced Trafficking of P-Glycoprotein in Human Brain Capillary Endothelial Cells as Demonstrated by Exposure to Mitomycin C 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88154.
P-glycoprotein (Pgp; ABCB1/MDR1) is a major efflux transporter at the blood-brain barrier (BBB), restricting the penetration of various compounds. In other tissues, trafficking of Pgp from subcellular stores to the cell surface has been demonstrated and may constitute a rapid way of the cell to respond to toxic compounds by functional membrane insertion of the transporter. It is not known whether drug-induced Pgp trafficking also occurs in brain capillary endothelial cells that form the BBB. In this study, trafficking of Pgp was investigated in human brain capillary endothelial cells (hCMEC/D3) that were stably transfected with a doxycycline-inducible MDR1-EGFP fusion plasmid. In the presence of doxycycline, these cells exhibited a 15-fold increase in Pgp-EGFP fusion protein expression, which was associated with an increased efflux of the Pgp substrate rhodamine 123 (Rho123). The chemotherapeutic agent mitomycin C (MMC) was used to study drug-induced trafficking of Pgp. Confocal fluorescence microscopy of single hCMEC/D3-MDR1-EGFP cells revealed that Pgp redistribution from intracellular pools to the cell surface occurred within 2 h of MMC exposure. Pgp-EGFP exhibited a punctuate pattern at the cell surface compatible with concentrated regions of the fusion protein in membrane microdomains, i.e., lipid rafts, which was confirmed by Western blot analysis of biotinylated cell surface proteins in Lubrol-resistant membranes. MMC exposure also increased the functionality of Pgp as assessed in three functional assays with Pgp substrates (Rho123, eFluxx-ID Gold, calcein-AM). However, this increase occurred with some delay after the increased Pgp expression and coincided with the release of Pgp from the Lubrol-resistant membrane complexes. Disrupting rafts by depleting the membrane of cholesterol increased the functionality of Pgp. Our data present the first direct evidence of drug-induced Pgp trafficking at the human BBB and indicate that Pgp has to be released from lipid rafts to gain its full functionality.
PMCID: PMC3913777  PMID: 24505408
7.  Influence of RARα gene on MDR1 expression and P-glycoprotein function in human leukemic cells 
Multidrug resistance (MDR) phenotype of malignant cells is the major problem in the chemotherapy of neoplasia. The treatment of leukemia with retinoids is aimed on the induction of leukemic cells differentiation. However the interconnections between retinoid regulated differentiation of leukemic cells and regulation of MDR remains unclear.
Four lines of cultured leukemic cells of diverse types of differentiation were infected with RARα gene and stable transfectants were isolated. We investigated the differentiation of these cells as well as the expression of RARα and MDR1 genes and P-glycoprotein (Pgp, MDR protein) functional activity in these cells.
All RARα transfected sublines demonstrated the increase in the quantity of RARα mRNA. All these sublines became more differentiated. Intrinsic activity of MDR1 gene (but not Pgp functional activity) was increased in one of the transfectants. All-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) induced Pgp activity in two of three infectants to a larger extent than in parental cells.
The data show that RARα regulates MDR1/ Pgp activity in human leukemic cells, in the first place, Pgp activity induced by ATRA. These results show that RARα overexpression in leukemic cells could result in MDR.
PMCID: PMC1166566  PMID: 15910691
8.  P-Glycoprotein/MDR1 Regulates Pokemon Gene Transcription Through p53 Expression in Human Breast Cancer Cells 
P-glycoprotein (Pgp), encoded by the multidrug resistance 1 (MDR1) gene, is an efflux transporter and plays an important role in pharmacokinetics. In this study, we demonstrated that the pokemon promoter activity, the pokemon mRNA and protein expression can be significantly inhibited by Pgp. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assay showed that Pgp can bind the pokemon prompter to repress pokemon transcription activity. Furthermore, Pgp regulated pokemon transcription activity through expression of p53 as seen by use of p53 siRNA transfected MCF-7 cells or p53 mutated MDA-MB-231 cells. Moreover, p53 was detected to bind with Pgp in vivo using immunoprecipitation assay. Taken together, we conclude that Pgp can regulate the expression of pokemon through the presence of p53, suggesting that Pgp is a potent regulator and may offer an effective novel target for cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC2956079  PMID: 20957096
Pgp (MDR1); Pokemon; p53; breast cancer
9.  HDAC inhibitor valproic acid upregulates CAR in vitro and in vivo 
The presence of CAR in diverse tumor types is heterogeneous with implications in tumor transduction efficiency in the context of adenoviral mediated cancer gene therapy. Preliminary studies suggest that CAR transcriptional regulation is modulated through histone acetylation and not through promoter methylation. Furthermore, it has been documented that the pharmacological induction of CAR using histone deacetylase inhibitor (iHDAC) compounds is a viable strategy to enhance adenoviral mediated gene delivery to cancer cells in vitro. The incorporation of HDAC drugs into the overall scheme in adenoviral based cancer gene therapy clinical trials seems rational. However, reports using compounds with iHDAC properties utilized routinely in the clinic are pending. Valproic acid, a short chained fatty acid extensively used in the clinic for the treatment of epilepsy and bipolar disorder has been recently described as an effective HDAC inhibitor at therapeutic concentrations.
We studied the effect of valproic acid on histone H3 and H4 acetylation, CAR mRNA upregulation was studied using semiquantitative PCR and adenoviral transduction on HeLa cervical cancer cells, on MCF-7 breast cancer cells, on T24 transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder cells. CAR mRNA was studied using semiquantitative PCR on tumor tissue extracted from patients diagnosed with cervical cancer treated with valproic acid.
CAR upregulation through HDAC inhibition was observed in the three cancer cell lines with enhancement of adenoviral transduction. CAR upregulation was also observed in tumor samples obtained from patients with cervical cancer treated with therapeutic doses of valproic acid. These results support the addition of the HDAC inhibitor valproic acid to adenoviral mediated cancer gene therapy clinical trials to enhance adenoviral mediated gene delivery to the tumor cells.
PMCID: PMC2174455  PMID: 17892546
10.  Differences in the expression of endogenous efflux transporters in MDR1-transfected versus wildtype cell lines affect P-glycoprotein mediated drug transport 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2010;160(6):1453-1463.
Background and purpose:
P-glycoprotein (Pgp) efflux assays are widely used to identify Pgp substrates. The kidney cell lines Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK)-II and LLC-PK1, transfected with human MDR1 (ABCB1) are used to provide recombinant models of drug transport. Endogenous transporters in these cells may contribute to the activities of recombinant transporters, so that drug transport in MDR1-transfected cells is often corrected for the transport obtained in parental (wildtype) cells. However, expression of endogenous transporters may vary between transfected and wildtype cells, so that this correction may cause erroneous data. Here, we have measured the expression of endogenous efflux transporters in transfected and wildtype MDCK-II or LLC cells and the consequences for Pgp-mediated drug transport.
Experimental approach:
Using quantitative real-time RT-PCR, we determined the expression of endogenous Mdr1 mRNA and other efflux transporters in wildtype and MDR1-transfected MDCK-II and LLC cells. Transcellular transport was measured with the test substrate vinblastine.
Key results:
In MDR1-transfected MDCK cells, expression of endogenous (canine) Mdr1 and Mrp2 (Abcc2) mRNA was markedly lower than in wildtype cells, whereas MDR1-transfected LLC cells exhibited comparable Mdr1 but strikingly higher Mrp2 mRNA levels than wildtype cells. As a consequence, transport of vinblastine by human Pgp in efflux experiments was markedly underestimated when transport in MDR1-transfected MDCK cells was corrected for transport obtained in wildtype cells. This problem did not occur in LLC cells.
Conclusions and implications:
Differences in the expression of endogenous efflux transporters between transfected and wildtype MDCK cells provide a potential bias for in vitro studies on Pgp-mediated drug transport.
PMCID: PMC2938816  PMID: 20590635
multidrug resistance; transwell; ABCB1; multidrug resistance proteins; kidney cell lines
11.  Interrogation of Multidrug Resistance (MDR1) P-glycoprotein (Pgp, ABCB1) Expression in Human Pancreatic Carcinoma Cells: Correlation of 99mTc-Sestamibi Uptake with Western Blot Analysis 
Nuclear medicine communications  2014;35(10):1067-1070.
Histopathological studies indicate approximately 63% of pancreatic tumors express MDR1 Pgp and its polymorphic variants. However, Pgp expression detected at the messenger RNA or protein level does not always correlate with functional transport activity. Because Pgp transport activity is affected by specific mutations as well as the phosphorylation state of the protein, altered or less active forms of Pgp may also be detected by PCR or immunohistochemistry, which do not accurately reflect the status of tumor cell resistance. To interrogate status of functional expression of MDR1 Pgp in MiaPaCa-2 and PANC-1 cells, cellular transport studies using 99mTc-Sestamibi were performed and correlated with western blot analysis.
Biochemical transport assays in human pancreatic carcinoma MiaPaCa-2 and PANC-1 cells, human epidermal carcinoma drug sensitive KB-3-1 cells and human breast carcinoma MCF-7 cells (negative controls), and human epidermal carcinoma drug resistant KB-8-5 cells, human breast carcinoma stably transfected with Pgp MCF-7/MDR1Pgp cells, and liver carcinoma HepG2 cells (positive controls) were performed. Protein levels were determined using a monoclonal antibody C219.
99mTc-Sestamibi demonstrates accumulation in human pancreatic carcinoma MiaPaCa-2 and PANC-1 cells. Uptake profiles are not affected by treatment with LY335979, a Pgp-inhibitor, and correlate to Western blot analysis.
These cellular transport studies indicate an absence of Pgp at a functional level in MiaPaCa-2 and PANC-1 cells. Because major pancreatic tumors originate from pancreatic duct and 99mTc-Sestamibi undergoes a dominant hepatobiliary mode of excretion, it would not be a sensitive probe for imaging pancreatic adenocarcinomas. Following interrogation of the functional status of Pgp in other pancreatic carcinoma cells, chemotherapeutic drugs that are also MDR1 substrates could offer alternative therapeutics for treating pancreatic adenocarcinomas.
PMCID: PMC4617235  PMID: 25036383
12.  Transcriptional Regulation of the MDR1 Gene by Histone Acetyltransferase and Deacetylase Is Mediated by NF-Y 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1998;18(7):4377-4384.
Recent studies have shown that the histone-modifying enzymes histone acetyltransferase (HAT) and histone deacetylase (HDAC) are involved in transcriptional activation and repression, respectively. However, little is known about the endogenous genes that are regulated by these enzymes or how specificity is achieved. In the present report, we demonstrate that HAT and HDAC activities modulate transcription of the P-glycoprotein-encoding gene, MDR1. Incubation of human colon carcinoma SW620 cells in 100-ng/ml trichostatin A (TSA), a specific HDAC inhibitor, increased the steady-state level of MDR1 mRNA 20-fold. Furthermore, TSA treatment of cells transfected with a wild-type MDR1 promoter/luciferase construct resulted in a 10- to 15-fold induction of promoter activity. Deletion and point mutation analysis determined that an inverted CCAAT box was essential for this activation. Consistent with this observation, overexpression of p300/CREB binding protein-associated factor (P/CAF), a transcriptional coactivator with intrinsic HAT activity, activated the wild-type MDR1 promoter but not a promoter containing a mutation in the CCAAT box; deletion of the P/CAF HAT domain abolished activation. Gel shift and supershift analyses identified NF-Y as the CCAAT-box binding protein in these cells, and cotransfection of a dominant negative NF-Y expression vector decreased the activation of the MDR1 promoter by TSA. Moreover, NF-YA and P/CAF were shown to interact in vitro. This is the first report of a natural promoter that is modulated by HAT and HDAC activities in which the transcription factor mediating this regulation has been identified.
PMCID: PMC109021  PMID: 9632821
13.  A Pharmacodynamic Study of the P-glycoprotein Antagonist CBT-1® in Combination With Paclitaxel in Solid Tumors 
The Oncologist  2012;17(4):512.
This pharmacodynamic trial evaluated the effect of CBT-1® on efflux by the ATP binding cassette (ABC) multidrug transporter P-glycoprotein (Pgp/MDR1/ABCB1) in normal human cells and tissues. CBT-1® is an orally administered bisbenzylisoquinoline Pgp inhibitor being evaluated clinically. Laboratory studies showed potent and durable inhibition of Pgp, and in phase I studies CBT-1® did not alter the pharmacokinetics of paclitaxel or doxorubicin.
CBT-1® was dosed at 500 mg/m2 for 7 days; a 3-hour infusion of paclitaxel at 135 mg/m2 was administered on day 6. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were obtained prior to CBT-1® administration and on day 6 prior to the paclitaxel infusion. 99mTc-sestamibi imaging was performed on the same schedule. The area under the concentration–time curve from 0–3 hours (AUC0–3) was determined for 99mTc-sestamibi.
Twelve patients were planned and enrolled. Toxicities were minimal and related to paclitaxel (grade 3 or 4 neutropenia in 18% of cycles). Rhodamine efflux from CD56+ PBMCs was a statistically significant 51%–100% lower (p < .0001) with CBT-1®. Among 10 patients who completed imaging, the 99mTc-sestamibi AUC0–3 for liver (normalized to the AUC0–3 of the heart) increased from 34.7% to 100.8% (median, 71.9%; p < .0001) after CBT-1® administration. Lung uptake was not changed.
CBT-1® is able to inhibit Pgp-mediated efflux from PBMCs and normal liver to a degree observed with Pgp inhibitors studied in earlier clinical trials. Combined with its ease of administration and lack of toxicity, the data showing inhibition of normal tissue Pgp support further studies with CBT-1® to evaluate its ability to modulate drug uptake in tumor tissue.
Although overexpression of ABCB1 and other ABC transporters has been linked with poor outcome following chemotherapy efforts to negate that through pharmacologic inhibition have generally failed. This is thought to be a result of several factors, including (a) failure to select patients with tumors in which ABCB1 is a dominant resistance mechanism; (b) inhibitors that were not potent, or that impaired drug clearance; and (c) the existence of other mechanisms of drug resistance, including other ABC transporters. Although an animal model for Pgp has been lacking, recent studies have exploited a Brca1−/−; p53−/− mouse model of hereditary breast cancer that develops sporadic tumors similar to cancers in women harboring BRCA1 mutations. Treatment with doxorubicin, docetaxel, or the poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor olaparib brings about shrinkage, but resistance eventually emerges. Overexpression of the Abcb1a gene, the mouse ortholog of human ABCB1, has been shown to be a mechanism of resistance in a subset of these tumors. Treating mice with resistant tumors with olaparib plus the Pgp inhibitor tariquidar resensitized the tumors to olaparib. Although results in this animal model support a new look at Pgp as a target, in this era of “targeted therapies,” trial designs that directly assess modulation of drug uptake, including quantitative nuclear imaging, should be pursued before clinical efficacy assessments are undertaken. Such assessment should be performed with compounds that inhibit tissue Pgp without altering the pharmacokinetics of chemotherapeutic agents. This pharmacodynamic study demonstrated that CBT-1®, inhibits Pgp-mediated efflux from PBMCs and normal liver.
PMCID: PMC3336838  PMID: 22416063
14.  The Role of Abcb5 Alleles in Susceptibility to Haloperidol-Induced Toxicity in Mice and Humans 
PLoS Medicine  2015;12(2):e1001782.
We know very little about the genetic factors affecting susceptibility to drug-induced central nervous system (CNS) toxicities, and this has limited our ability to optimally utilize existing drugs or to develop new drugs for CNS disorders. For example, haloperidol is a potent dopamine antagonist that is used to treat psychotic disorders, but 50% of treated patients develop characteristic extrapyramidal symptoms caused by haloperidol-induced toxicity (HIT), which limits its clinical utility. We do not have any information about the genetic factors affecting this drug-induced toxicity. HIT in humans is directly mirrored in a murine genetic model, where inbred mouse strains are differentially susceptible to HIT. Therefore, we genetically analyzed this murine model and performed a translational human genetic association study.
Methods and Findings
A whole genome SNP database and computational genetic mapping were used to analyze the murine genetic model of HIT. Guided by the mouse genetic analysis, we demonstrate that genetic variation within an ABC-drug efflux transporter (Abcb5) affected susceptibility to HIT. In situ hybridization results reveal that Abcb5 is expressed in brain capillaries, and by cerebellar Purkinje cells. We also analyzed chromosome substitution strains, imaged haloperidol abundance in brain tissue sections and directly measured haloperidol (and its metabolite) levels in brain, and characterized Abcb5 knockout mice. Our results demonstrate that Abcb5 is part of the blood-brain barrier; it affects susceptibility to HIT by altering the brain concentration of haloperidol. Moreover, a genetic association study in a haloperidol-treated human cohort indicates that human ABCB5 alleles had a time-dependent effect on susceptibility to individual and combined measures of HIT. Abcb5 alleles are pharmacogenetic factors that affect susceptibility to HIT, but it is likely that additional pharmacogenetic susceptibility factors will be discovered.
ABCB5 alleles alter susceptibility to HIT in mouse and humans. This discovery leads to a new model that (at least in part) explains inter-individual differences in susceptibility to a drug-induced CNS toxicity.
Gary Peltz and colleagues examine the role of ABCB5 alleles in haloperidol-induced toxicity in a murine genetic model and humans treated with haloperidol.
Editors' Summary
The brain is the control center of the human body. This complex organ controls thoughts, memory, speech, and movement, it is the seat of intelligence, and it regulates the function of many organs. The brain comprises many different parts, all of which work together but all of which have their own special functions. For example, the forebrain is involved in intellectual activities such as thinking whereas the hindbrain controls the body’s vital functions and movements. Messages are passed between the various regions of the brain and to other parts of the body by specialized cells called neurons, which release and receive signal molecules known as neurotransmitters. Like all the organs in the body, blood vessels supply the brain with the oxygen, water, and nutrients it needs to function. Importantly, however, the brain is protected from infectious agents and other potentially dangerous substances circulating in the blood by the “blood-brain barrier,” a highly selective permeability barrier that is formed by the cells lining the fine blood vessels (capillaries) within the brain.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although drugs have been developed to treat various brain disorders, more active and less toxic drugs are needed to improve the treatment of many if not most of these conditions. Unfortunately, relatively little is known about how the blood-brain barrier regulates the entry of drugs into the brain or about the genetic factors that affect the brain’s susceptibility to drug-induced toxicities. It is not known, for example, why about half of patients given haloperidol—a drug used to treat psychotic disorders (conditions that affect how people think, feel, or behave)—develop tremors and other symptoms caused by alterations in the brain region that controls voluntary movements. Here, to improve our understanding of how drugs enter the brain and impact its function, the researchers investigate the genetic factors that affect haloperidol-induced toxicity by genetically analyzing several inbred mouse strains (every individual in an inbred mouse strain is genetically identical) with different susceptibilities to haloperidol-induced toxicity and by undertaking a human genetic association study (a study that looks for non-chance associations between specific traits and genetic variants).
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used a database of genetic variants called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and a computational genetic mapping approach to show first that variations within the gene encoding Abcb5 affected susceptibility to haloperidol-induced toxicity (indicated by changes in the length of time taken by mice to move their paws when placed on an inclined wire-mesh screen) among inbred mouse strains. Abcb5 is an ATP-binding cassette transporter, a type of protein that moves molecules across cell membranes. The researchers next showed that Abcb5 is expressed in brain capillaries, which is the location of the blood-brain barrier. Abcb5 was also expressed in cerebellar Purkinje cells, which help to control motor (intentional) movements. They also measured the measured the effect of haloperidol and the haloperidol concentration in brain tissue sections in mice that were genetically engineered to make no Abcb5 (Abcb5 knockout mice). Finally, the researchers investigated whether specific alleles (alternative versions) of ABCB5 are associated with haloperidol-induced toxicity in people. Among a group of 85 patients treated with haloperidol for a psychotic illness, one specific ABCB5 allele was associated with haloperidol-induced toxicity during the first few days of treatment.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that Abcb5 is a component of the blood-brain barrier in mice and suggest that genetic variants in the gene encoding this protein underlie, at least in part, the differences in susceptibility to haloperidol-induced toxicity seen among inbred mice strains. Moreover, the human genetic association study indicates that a specific ABCB5 allele also affects the susceptibility of people to haloperidol-induced toxicity. The researchers note that other ABCB5 alleles or other genetic factors that affect haloperidol-induced toxicity in people might emerge if larger groups of patients were studied. However, based on their findings, the researchers propose a new model for the genetic mechanisms that underlie inter-individual and cell type-specific differences in susceptibility to haloperidol-induced brain toxicity. If confirmed in future studies, this model might facilitate the development of more effective and less toxic drugs to treat a range of brain disorders.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke provides information about a wide range of brain diseases (in English and Spanish); its fact sheet “Brain Basics: Know Your Brain” is a simple introduction to the human brain; its “Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network” was established to develop new drugs for disorders affecting the brain and other parts of the nervous system
MedlinePlus provides links to additional resources about brain diseases and their treatment (in English and Spanish)
Wikipedia provides information about haloperidol, about ATP-binding cassette transporters and about genetic association (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
PMCID: PMC4315575  PMID: 25647612
15.  Acute damage by naphthalene triggers expression of the neuroendocrine marker PGP9.5 in airway epithelial cells 
Toxicology letters  2008;181(2):67-74.
Protein Gene Product 9.5 (PGP9.5) is highly expressed in nervous tissue. Recently PGP9.5 expression has been found to be upregulated in the pulmonary epithelium of smokers and in non-small cell lung cancer, suggesting that it also plays a role in carcinogen-inflicted lung epithelial injury and carcinogenesis. We investigated the expression of PGP9.5 in mice in response to two prominent carcinogens found in tobacco smoke: Naphthalene and 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK). By immunostaining, we found that PGP9.5 protein was highly expressed throughout the airway epithelium in the days immediately following a single injection of naphthalene. In contrast, PGP9.5 was exclusively confined to neurons and neuroendocrine cells in the control and NNK-exposed lungs. Furthermore, we investigated the expression of PGP9.5 mRNA in the lungs by quantitative RT-PCR (qPCR). PGP9.5 mRNA expression was highly upregulated in the days immediately following naphthalene injection and gradually returning to that of control mice 5 days after naphthalene injection. In contrast, exposure to NNK did not result in a significant increase in PGP9.5 mRNA 10 weeks after exposure. No increased expression of two other neuroendocrine markers was found in the non-neuroendocrine epithelial cells after naphthalene exposure. In contrast, immunostaining for the cell cycle regulator p27Kip1, which has previously been associated with PGP9.5 in lung cancer cells, revealed transient downregulation of p27Kip1 in naphthalene exposed airways compared to controls, indicating that the rise in PGP9.5 in the airway epithelium is related to downregulation of p27Kip1. This study is the first to specifically identify the carcinogen naphthalene as an inducer of PGP9.5 expression in non-neuroendocrine epithelium after acute lung injury and further strengthens the accumulating evidence of PGP9.5 as a central player in lung epithelial damage and early carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2614340  PMID: 18687389
PGP9.5; UCHL1; naphthalene; NNK; lung; neuroendocrine
16.  Low ABCB1 Gene Expression Is an Early Event in Colorectal Carcinogenesis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e72119.
The ABCB1/MDR1 gene product ABCB1/P-glycoprotein is implicated in the development of colorectal cancer (CRC). NFKB1 encodes transcription factors regulating expression of a number of genes including ABCB1. We have previously found association between the ABCB1 C-rs3789243-T polymorphism and CRC risk and interactions between the ABCB1 C-rs3789243-T and C3435T polymorphisms and meat intake in relation to CRC risk (Andersen, BMC Cancer, 2009, 9, 407). ABCB1 and NFKB1 mRNA levels were assessed in intestinal tissue from 122 CRC cases, 101 adenoma cases (12 with severe dysplasia, 89 with mild-moderate dysplasia) and from 18 healthy individuals, together with gene polymorphisms in ABCB1 and NFKB1. ABCB1 mRNA levels were highest in the healthy individuals and significantly lower in mild/moderate and severe dysplasia tissue (P<0.05 for both), morphologically normal tissues close to the tumour (P<0.05), morphologically normal tissue at a distance from the tumour (P<0.05) and CRC tissue (P<0.001). Furthermore, ABCB1 mRNA levels were lower in adenomas and carcinomas compared to morphologically normal tissue from the same individuals (P<0.01). The ABCB1 C-rs3789243-T and NFKB1 -94ins/del homozygous variant genotypes were associated with low ABCB1 mRNA levels in morphologically normal sigmoid tissue from adenoma cases (P<0.05 for both). NFKB1 mRNA levels were lower in both tumour and normal tissue from cancer patients (P<0.001) as compared to healthy individuals but we were unable to show association between NFKB1 -94ins/del genotype and NFKB1 mRNA levels. This study suggests that low ABCB1 mRNA levels are an early event in CRC development and that the two polymorphisms affect ABCB1 mRNA levels whereas low NFKB1 mRNA levels occur later in carcinogenesis. Low ABCB1 protein levels may promote colorectal carcinogenesis through increasing intracellular exposure to carcinogenic ABCB1 substrates.
PMCID: PMC3747088  PMID: 23977225
17.  Expression of a drug resistance gene in human neuroblastoma cell lines: modulation by retinoic acid-induced differentiation. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1989;9(10):4337-4344.
Expression of a multidrug resistance gene (mdr1) and its protein product, P-glycoprotein (Pgp), has been correlated with the onset of multidrug resistance in vitro in human cell lines selected for resistance to chemotherapeutic agents derived from natural products. Expression of this gene has also been observed in normal tissues and human tumors, including neuroblastoma. We therefore examined total RNA prepared from human neuroblastoma cell lines before and after differentiation with retinoic acid or sodium butyrate. An increase in the level of mdr1 mRNA was observed after retinoic acid treatment of four neuroblastoma cell lines, including the SK-N-SH cell line. Western blot (immunoblot) analysis demonstrated concomitant increases in Pgp. However, studies of 3H-vinblastine uptake failed to show a concomitant Pgp-mediated decrease in cytotoxic drug accumulation. To provide evidence that Pgp was localized on the cell surface, an immunotoxin conjugate directed against Pgp was added to cells before and after treatment with retinoic acid. Incorporation of [3H]leucine was decreased by the immunotoxin in the retinoic acid-treated cells compared with the undifferentiated cells. These results demonstrate that whereas expression of the mdr1 gene can be modulated by differentiating agents, increased levels of expression are not necessarily associated with increased cytotoxic drug accumulation.
PMCID: PMC362514  PMID: 2573830
18.  Principal expression of two mRNA isoforms (ABCB5α and ABCB5β) of the ATP-binding cassette transporter gene ABCB5 in melanoma cells and melanocytes 
ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters play a pivotal role in physiology and pathology. We identified and cloned two novel mRNA isoforms (ABCB5α and ABCB5β) of the ABC transporter ABCB5 in human melanoma cells. The deduced ABCB5α protein appears to be an altered splice variant containing only a putative ABC, whereas the ABCB5β isoform shares approximately 70% similarity with ABCB1 (MDR1) and has a deduced topological arrangement similar to that of the whole carboxyl terminal half of the ABCB1 gene product, P-glycoprotein, including an intact ABC. Northern blot, real-time PCR, and conventional RT-PCR were used to verify the expression profiles of ABCB5α/β. We found that the melanomas included among the NCI-60 panel of cell lines preferentially expressed both ABCB5α and ABCB5β. However, ABCB5α/β expression was undetectable in two amelanotic melanomas (M14 and LOX-IMVI). The expression profile of ABCB5α/β in all of the other melanomas of the panel was confirmed both by RT-PCR and by sequencing. Neither ABCB5α nor ABCB5β expression was found in normal tissues such as liver, spleen, thymus, kidney, lung, colon, small intestines or placenta. ABCB5α/β mRNAs were also expressed in normal melanocytes and in retinal pigment epithelial cells, suggesting that ABCB5α/β expression is pigment cell-specific and might be involved in melanogenesis. Our findings indicate that expression of ABCB5α/β might possibly provide two novel molecular markers for differential diagnosis of melanomas and constitute potential molecular targets for therapy of melanomas.
PMCID: PMC3915408  PMID: 15760339
ATP-binding cassette transporter; ABCB5; melanoma/melanocytes
19.  Constitutive expression of multidrug resistance in human colorectal tumours and cell lines. 
British Journal of Cancer  1993;67(5):959-968.
In this study we report detection of mdr1 gene expression in the liver metastases of 7/11 patients with colon carcinoma and characterise the MDR phenotype associated with a panel of 19 human colon carcinoma cell lines. Within this panel, mdr1 mRNA biosynthesis and surface localisation of Pgp were assessed with respect to MDR functionality where the cell lines are representative of different clinical stages of tumour progression, metastatic potential and differentiation. The data indicates that constitutive levels of mdr1 mRNA/Pgp expression may not necessarily result in the functional expression of the MDR phenotype. While low levels of mdr1 mRNA/Pgp were detected in 5/8 well differentiated colon cell lines, only 2/8 were functionally MDR. In contrast, 10/11 moderate and poorly differentiated lines expressed mdr1 mRNA/Pgp and of these, 9/11 were functionally MDR. The phosphorylation status of the mature 170 kD P-glycoprotein and the surface localisation of this glycoprotein showed the strongest correlation with functionality. Analysis of cell lines for cross-resistance and chemosensitivity profiles against a battery of chemotherapeutic drugs suggests multiple mechanisms, in addition to Pgp, contribute to the overall resistance of colorectal cancer.
PMCID: PMC1968473  PMID: 8098614
20.  Epigenetic regulation of MDR1 gene through post-translational histone modifications in prostate cancer 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:898.
Multidrug resistance 1 (MDR1) gene encodes for an ATP binding cassette transporter - P-glycoprotein (P-gp) - involved in chemoresistance to taxanes. MDR1 promoter methylation is frequent in prostate carcinoma (PCa), suggesting an epigenetic regulation but no functional correlation has been established. We aimed to elucidate the epigenetic mechanisms involved in MDR1 deregulation in PCa.
MDR1 promoter methylation and P-gp expression were assessed in 121 PCa, 39 high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HGPIN), 28 benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and 10 morphologically normal prostate tissue (NPT) samples, using quantitative methylation specific PCR and immunohistochemistry, respectively. PCa cell lines were exposed to a DNA methyltransferases inhibitor 5-aza-2′deoxycytidine (DAC) and histone deacetylases inhibitor trichostatin A (TSA). Methylation and histone posttranscriptional modifications status were characterized and correlated with mRNA and protein expression. MDR1 promoter methylation levels and frequency significantly increased from NPTs, to HGPIN and to PCa. Conversely, decreased or absent P-gp immunoexpression was observed in HGPIN and PCa, inversely correlating with methylation levels. Exposure to DAC alone did not alter significantly methylation levels, although increased expression was apparent. However, P-gp mRNA and protein re-expression were higher in cell lines exposed to TSA alone or combined with DAC. Accordingly, histone active marks H3Ac, H3K4me2, H3K4me3, H3K9Ac, and H4Ac were increased at the MDR1 promoter after exposure to TSA alone or combined with DAC.
Our data suggests that, in prostate carcinogenesis, MDR1 downregulation is mainly due to histone post-translational modifications. This occurs concomitantly with aberrant promoter methylation, substantiating the association with P-gp decreased expression.
PMCID: PMC3878566  PMID: 24344919
CpG island hypermethylation; Epigenetic regulation; Histone post-translational activation/repression marks; MDR1; P-gp; Prostate
21.  Inhibition of p38 MAPK diminishes doxorubicin-induced drug resistance associated with P-glycoprotein in human leukemia K562 cells 
Several studies have shown that multidrug transporters, such as P-glycoprotein (PGP), are involved in cell resistance to chemotherapy and refractory epilepsy. The p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway may increase PGP activity. However, p38-mediated drug resistance associated with PGP is unclear. Here, we investigated p38-mediated doxorubicin-induced drug resistance in human leukemia K562 cells.
The expression of PGP was detected by RT-PCR, Western blot, and immunocytochemistry. Cell viability and half-inhibitory concentrations (IC50) were determined by CCK-8 assay. The intracellular concentration of drugs was measured by HPLC.
A doxorubicin-induced PGP overexpression cell line, K562/Dox, was generated. The p38 inhibitor SB202190 significantly decreased MDR1 mRNA expression, as well as PGP, in K562/Dox cells. The IC50 of phenytoin sodium and doxorubicin in K562/Dox cells was significantly higher than that in wild-type K562 cells, indicating the drug resistance of K562/Dox cells. During the blocking of p38 activity in the presence of SB202190, cell number was significantly reduced after the phenytoin sodium and doxorubicin treatment, and the IC50 of phenytoin sodium and doxorubicin was decreased in K562/Dox cells. HPLC showed that the intracellular levels of phenytoin sodium and doxorubicin were significantly lower in K562/Dox cells than those in K562 cells. The decrease of the intracellular level of these drugs was significantly abolished in the presence of SB202190.
Our study demonstrated that p38 is, at least in part, involved in doxorubicin-induced drug resistance. The mechanistic study of MAPK-mediated PGP and the action of SB202190 need further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3560559  PMID: 23018344
p38 MAPK; drug resistance; P-glycoprotein; doxorubicin; cancer
22.  Relationship between the C3435T and G2677T(A) polymorphisms in the ABCB1 gene and P-glycoprotein expression in human liver 
The aim of the study was to determine whether a correlation exists between MDR1 (ABCB1) gene polymorphisms at positions 3435 (C3435T) and 2677 (G2677T(A)) and the expression of human hepatic P-glycoprotein (P-gp).
P-gp protein expression in 26 human livers was assessed by Western blotting and ABCB1 mRNA expression was determined by real time RT-PCR. The C3435T and G2677T(A) polymorphisms were identified by RFLP and direct sequence analysis, respectively.
The C and G allele frequencies for the C3435T and G2677T(A) polymorphisms were 0.48 and 0.79, respectively, and the genotypes were in Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium. There was a 200- and 20-fold variation in the expression of ABCB1 mRNA and Pgp protein expression, respectively. There were no differences in mRNA and protein expression identified amongst the different genotypes attributable to the C3435T and G2677T(A) polymorphisms in the ABCB1 gene. Exposure to a PXR ligand prior to death did not influence mRNA or protein expression.
There is substantial variability in the expression of Pgp in human liver, but this is not due to the presence of C3435T and G2677T(A) polymorphisms in the ABCB1 gene, although our study is limited by a small sample size.
PMCID: PMC1884787  PMID: 15752383
ABCB1; C3435T; expression; G2677T/A; MDR1; P-glycoprotein; SNP
23.  PXR-mediated induction of P-glycoprotein by anticancer drugs in a human colon adenocarcinoma-derived cell line 
The development of multidrug resistance (MDR) is one of the major limitations in the treatment of cancer. Induction of P-glycoprotein (Pgp) has been regarded as one of the main mechanisms underlying anticancer drug-induced MDR. Since the induction of Pgp is (in part) regulated by the pregnane X receptor (PXR), the ability of several widely used anticancer drugs to activate PXR-mediated Pgp induction was investigated.
A Pgp-reporter gene assay was employed to determine the ability of a panel of widely used anticancer drugs to induce Pgp. To further assess whether PXR could be involved in the induction of Pgp by anticancer drugs, Pgp protein expression after treatment with the anticancer drugs was determined in both wild-type and PXR-knocked down LS180 cells. Furthermore, the effect of the anticancer drugs on the intracellular accumulation of the Pgp-probes rhodamine 123 and doxorubicin was determined.
Our study showed that vincristine, tamoxifen, vinblastine, docetaxel, cyclophosphamide, flutamide, ifosfamide and paclitaxel activate PXR-mediated Pgp induction, and were additionally shown to affect the intracellular accumulation of the Pgp probe rhodamine 123. Moreover, PXR activation was also shown to reduce the cytotoxic activity of the Pgp substrate doxorubicin in colon cancer cells.
Our results indicate that several anticancer drugs can activate PXR-mediated induction of Pgp and affect the accumulation of Pgp substrates.
PMCID: PMC2904455  PMID: 20041327
PXR; Induction; P-glycoprotein; Multidrug resistance; Anticancer drugs
24.  The histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A downregulates human MDR1 (ABCB1) gene expression by a transcription-dependent mechanism in a drug-resistant small cell lung carcinoma cell line model 
British Journal of Cancer  2007;97(4):562-573.
Tumour drug-resistant ABCB1 gene expression is regulated at the chromatin level through epigenetic mechanisms. We examined the effects of the histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A (TSA) on ABCB1 gene expression in small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) drug-sensitive (H69WT) or etoposide-resistant (H69VP) cells. We found that TSA induced an increase in ABCB1 expression in drug-sensitive cells, but strongly decreased it in drug-resistant cells. These up- and downregulations occurred at the transcriptional level. Protein synthesis inhibition reduced these modulations, but did not completely suppress them. Differential temporal patterns of histone acetylation were observed at the ABCB1 promoter: increase in H4 acetylation in both cell lines, but different H3 acetylation with a progressive increase in H69WT cells but a transient one in H69VP cells. ABCB1 regulations were not related with the methylation status of the promoter −50GC, −110GC, and Inr sites, and did not result in further changes to these methylation profiles. Trichostatin A treatment did not modify MBD1 binding to the ABCB1 promoter and similarly increased PCAF binding in both H69 cell lines. Our results suggest that in H69 drug-resistant SCLC cell line TSA induces downregulation of ABCB1 expression through a transcriptional mechanism, independently of promoter methylation, and MBD1 or PCAF recruitment.
PMCID: PMC2360351  PMID: 17667922
trichostatin A; epigenetics; drug resistance
25.  In Situ Biochemical Demonstration That P-Glycoprotein Is a Drug Efflux Pump with Broad Specificity 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2000;148(5):863-870.
While P-glycoprotein (Pgp) is the most studied protein involved in resistance to anti-cancer drugs, its mechanism of action is still under debate. Studies of Pgp have used cell lines selected with chemotherapeutics which may have developed many mechanisms of resistance. To eliminate the confounding effects of drug selection on understanding the action of Pgp, we studied cells transiently transfected with a Pgp-green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusion protein. This method generated a mixed population of unselected cells with a wide range of Pgp-GFP expression levels and allowed simultaneous measurements of Pgp level and drug accumulation in living cells. The results showed that Pgp-GFP expression was inversely related to the accumulation of chemotherapeutic drugs. The reduction in drug concentration was reversed by agents that block multiple drug resistance (MDR) and by the UIC2 anti-Pgp antibody. Quantitative analysis revealed an inverse linear relationship between the fluorescence of Pgp-GFP and MDR dyes. This suggests that Pgp levels alone limit drug accumulation by active efflux; cooperativity between enzyme, substrate, or inhibitor molecules is not required. Additionally, Pgp-GFP expression did not change cellular pH. Our study demonstrates the value of using GFP fusion proteins for quantitative biochemistry in living cells.
PMCID: PMC2174548  PMID: 10704438
multiple drug resistance; green fluorescent protein; ATP cassette-binding proteins; chemotherapy; membrane transport

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