Purpose: Canalicular multispecific organic anion transporter (cMOAT/MRP2) is known to exhibit a broad substrate specificity toward amphiphatic organic anions, including methotrexate (MTX). The present study aims to identify the physicochemical properties of MTX derivatives that correlate with recognition specificity by cMOAT/MRP2.
Methods: We examined the inhibitory effect of MTX and 24 analogs on the transport of [3H]-S-(2,4-dinitrophenyl)glutathione by cMOAT/MRP2. The affinity constants of these compounds were compared with their physicochemical parameters. The primary active transport of several compounds was also confirmed.
Results: The affinity constants closely correlated with the octanol/water partition coefficient (clogP), and a linear combination of polar and nonpolar surface areas. The affinity for cMOAT/MRP2 also closely correlated with the molecular weight, which also showed a significant correlation with nonpolar surface area and clogP.
Conclusions: Recognition by cMOAT/MRP2 depends on a balance of dynamic surface properties between the polar and nonpolar regions of MTX analogs. The so-called "molecular weight threshold" for the cMOAT/MRP2 affinity of these compounds can be explained by their physicochemical parameters, especially their nonpolar surface areas.