Role of ABCG2/BCRP in biology and medicine

Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol. 2006:46:381-410. doi: 10.1146/annurev.pharmtox.46.120604.141238.


The protein variously named ABCG2/BCRP/MXR/ABCP is a recently described ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter originally identified by its ability to confer drug resistance that is independent of Mrp1 (multidrug-resistance protein 1) and Pgp (P-glycoprotein). Unlike Mrp1 and Pgp, ABCG2 is a half-transporter that must homodimerize to acquire transport activity. ABCG2 is found in a variety of stem cells and may protect them from exogenous and endogenous toxins. ABCG2 expression is upregulated under low-oxygen conditions, consistent with its high expression in tissues exposed to low-oxygen environments. ABCG2 interacts with heme and other porphyrins and protects cells and/or tissues from protoporphyrin accumulation under hypoxic conditions. Individuals who carry ABCG2 alleles that have impaired function may be more susceptible to porphyrin-induced toxicity. Abcg2 knock-out models have allowed in vivo studies of Abcg2 function in host and cellular defense. In combination with immunohistochemical analyses, these studies have revealed how ABCG2 influences the absorption, distribution, and excretion of drugs and cytotoxins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily G, Member 2
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / genetics*
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Chromosomes / genetics
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Drug Therapy
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / physiology*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / physiology


  • ABCG2 protein, human
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily G, Member 2
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Neoplasm Proteins