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MDR3 P-glycoprotein, A Phosphatidylcholine Translocase, Transports Several Cytotoxic Drugs And Directly Interacts With Drugs As Judged By Interference With Nucleotide Trapping*

A. Smith, A. van Helvoort, G. van Meer, K. Szabó, E. Welker, G. Szakács, A. Váradi, B. Sarkadi, P. Borst
Published 2000 · Biology, Chemistry, Medicine

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The human MDR3 gene is a member of the multidrug resistance (MDR) gene family. The MDR3 P-glycoprotein is a transmembrane protein that translocates phosphatidylcholine. The MDR1 P-glycoprotein related transports cytotoxic drugs. Its overexpression can make cells resistant to a variety of drugs. Attempts to show that MDR3 P-glycoprotein can cause MDR have been unsuccessful thus far. Here, we report an increased directional transport of several MDR1 P-glycoprotein substrates, such as digoxin, paclitaxel, and vinblastine, through polarized monolayers of MDR3-transfected cells. Transport of other good MDR1 P-glycoprotein substrates, including cyclosporin A and dexamethasone, was not detectably increased. MDR3 P-glycoprotein-dependent transport of a short-chain phosphatidylcholine analog and drugs was inhibited by several MDR reversal agents and other drugs, indicating an interaction between these compounds and MDR3 P-gp. Insect cell membranes from Sf9 cells overexpressing MDR3 showed specific MgATP binding and a vanadate-dependent,N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive nucleotide trapping activity, visualized by covalent binding with [α-32P]8-azido-ATP. Nucleotide trapping was (nearly) abolished by paclitaxel, vinblastine, and the MDR reversal agents verapamil, cyclosporin A, and PSC 833. We conclude that MDR3 P-glycoprotein can bind and transport a subset of MDR1 P-glycoprotein substrates. The rate of MDR3 P-glycoprotein-mediated transport is low for most drugs, explaining why this protein is not detectably involved in multidrug resistance. It remains possible, however, that drug binding to MDR3 P-glycoprotein could adversely affect phospholipid or toxin secretion under conditions of stress (e.g. in pregnant heterozygotes with oneMDR3 null allele).
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