ATP-binding cassette, subfamily B, member 1 (ABCB1) transporter, or P-glycoprotein, is an efflux protein implicated in the absorption and the distribution of various compounds, including tacrolimus and cyclosporine A. In vivo studies suggest an association between the ABCB1 1199G>A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and tacrolimus intracellular accumulation. The aim of the present experimental study was to clarify in vitro the impact of the coding ABCB1 1199G>A SNP on ABCB1 transport activity towards both immunosuppressive drugs.
Two recombinant cell lines, i.e. Human Embryonic Kidney (HEK293) and Human Myelogenous Leukemia (K562) cells, overexpressing ABCB1 carrying either the wild-type allele (1199G) or its mutated counterpart (1199A), were generated. The impact of the 1199G>A SNP on ABCB1 activity towards rhodamine (Rh123), doxorubicin, vinblastine, tacrolimus and cyclosporine A was assessed by accumulation, cytotoxicity and/or kinetic experiments.
Tacrolimus accumulation was strongly decreased in cells overexpressing the wild-type protein (1199G) compared to control cells, confirming the ability of ABCB1 to transport tacrolimus. By contrast, overexpression of the variant protein (1199A) had nearly no effect on tacrolimus intracellular accumulation whatever the model used and the concentration tested. Unlike tacrolimus, our results also indicate that cyclosporine A, Rh123 and doxorubicin are transported in a similar extent by the wild-type and variant ABCB1 proteins while the variant protein seems to be more efficient for the transport of vinblastine.
ABCB1 encoded by the 1199G wild-type allele transports more efficiently tacrolimus in comparison to the 1199A variant protein. This observation indicates that the amino-acid substitution (Ser400Asn) encoded by the 1199A allele drastically decreases the ability of ABCB1 to drive the efflux of tacrolimus in a substrate-specific manner, in agreement with our previously published clinical data. Our study emphasizes the importance of the ABCB1 1199G>A polymorphism for ABCB1 activity and its potential to explain differences in drug response.