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      Complex Interplay between the P-Glycoprotein Multidrug Efflux Pump and the Membrane: Its Role in Modulating Protein Function

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          Multidrug resistance in cancer is linked to expression of the P-glycoprotein multidrug transporter (Pgp, ABCB1), which exports many structurally diverse compounds from cells. Substrates first partition into the bilayer and then interact with a large flexible binding pocket within the transporter’s transmembrane regions. Pgp has been described as a hydrophobic vacuum cleaner or an outwardly directed drug/lipid flippase. Recent X-ray crystal structures have shed some light on the nature of the drug-binding pocket and suggested routes by which substrates can enter it from the membrane. Detergents have profound effects on Pgp function, and several appear to be substrates. Biochemical and biophysical studies in vitro, some using purified reconstituted protein, have explored the effects of the membrane environment. They have demonstrated that Pgp is involved in a complex relationship with its lipid environment, which modulates the behavior of its substrates, as well as various functions of the protein, including ATP hydrolysis, drug binding, and drug transport. Membrane lipid composition and fluidity, phospholipid headgroup and acyl chain length all influence Pgp function. Recent studies focusing on thermodynamics and kinetics have revealed some important principles governing Pgp–lipid and substrate–lipid interactions, and how these affect drug-binding and transport. In some cells, Pgp is associated with cholesterol-rich microdomains, which may modulate its functions. The relationship between Pgp and cholesterol remains an open question; however, it clearly affects several aspects of its function in addition to substrate–membrane partitioning. The action of Pgp modulators appears to depend on their membrane permeability, and membrane fluidizers and surfactants reverse drug resistance, likely via an indirect mechanism. A detailed understanding of how the membrane affects Pgp substrates and Pgp’s catalytic cycle may lead to new strategies to combat clinical drug resistance.

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          Biochemical, cellular, and pharmacological aspects of the multidrug transporter.

          Considerable evidence has accumulated indicating that the multidrug transporter or P-glycoprotein plays a role in the development of simultaneous resistance to multiple cytotoxic drugs in cancer cells. In recent years, various approaches such as mutational analyses and biochemical and pharmacological characterization have yielded significant information about the relationship of structure and function of P-glycoprotein. However, there is still considerable controversy about the mechanism of action of this efflux pump and its function in normal cells. This review summarizes current research on the structure-function analysis of P-glycoprotein, its mechanism of action, and facts and speculations about its normal physiological role.
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            A surface glycoprotein modulating drug permeability in Chinese hamster ovary cell mutants.

            Chinese hamster ovary cells selected for resistance to colchicine display pleiotropic cross-resistance to a wide range of amphiphilic drugs. The drug-resistant phenotype is due to a membrane alteration which reduces the rate of drug permeation. Surface labelling studies reveal that drug-resistant Chinese hamster ovary cell membranes possess a carbohydrate-containing component of 170 000 daltons apparent molecular weight which is not observed in wild type cells. Through studies of the metabolic incorporation of carbohydrate and protein precursors, and through the use of selective proteolysis, this component is shown to be a cell surface glycoprotein. Since this glycoprotein appears unique to mutant cells displaying altered drug permeability, we have designated it the P glycoprotein. The relative amount of surface labelled P glycoprotein correlates with the degree of drug resistance in a number of independent mutant and revertant clones. A similar high molecular weight glycoprotein is also present in drug-resistant mutants from another hamster cell line. Observations on the molecular basis of pleiotropic drug resistance are interpreted in terms of a model wherein certain surface glycoproteins control drug permeation by modulating the properties of hydrophobic membrane regions...
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              The P-glycoprotein multidrug transporter.

               F J Sharom (2011)
              Pgp (P-glycoprotein) (ABCB1) is an ATP-powered efflux pump which can transport hundreds of structurally unrelated hydrophobic amphipathic compounds, including therapeutic drugs, peptides and lipid-like compounds. This 170 kDa polypeptide plays a crucial physiological role in protecting tissues from toxic xenobiotics and endogenous metabolites, and also affects the uptake and distribution of many clinically important drugs. It forms a major component of the blood-brain barrier and restricts the uptake of drugs from the intestine. The protein is also expressed in many human cancers, where it probably contributes to resistance to chemotherapy treatment. Many chemical modulators have been identified that block the action of Pgp, and may have clinical applications in improving drug delivery and treating cancer. Pgp substrates are generally lipid-soluble, and partition into the membrane before the transporter expels them into the aqueous phase, much like a 'hydrophobic vacuum cleaner'. The transporter may also act as a 'flippase', moving its substrates from the inner to the outer membrane leaflet. An X-ray crystal structure shows that drugs interact with Pgp within the transmembrane regions by fitting into a large flexible binding pocket, which can accommodate several substrate molecules simultaneously. The nucleotide-binding domains of Pgp appear to hydrolyse ATP in an alternating manner; however, it is still not clear whether transport is driven by ATP hydrolysis or ATP binding. Details of the steps involved in the drug-transport process, and how it is coupled to ATP hydrolysis, remain the object of intensive study.

                Author and article information

                URI : http://frontiersin.org/people/u/82338
                Front Oncol
                Front Oncol
                Front. Oncol.
                Frontiers in Oncology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                03 March 2014
                : 4
                1Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Guelph , Guelph, ON, Canada
                Author notes

                Edited by: Stefania Nobili, University of Florence, Italy

                Reviewed by: Marc Poirot, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, France; Saibal Dey, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, USA

                *Correspondence: Frances Jane Sharom, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada e-mail: fsharom@ 123456uoguelph.ca

                This article was submitted to Pharmacology of Anti-Cancer Drugs, a section of the journal Frontiers in Oncology.

                Copyright © 2014 Sharom.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 0, Equations: 1, References: 180, Pages: 19, Words: 19010
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