P-glycoprotein and 'lipid rafts': some ambiguous mutual relationships (floating on them, building them or meeting them by chance?)

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2006 May;63(9):1038-59. doi: 10.1007/s00018-005-5554-9.


P-glycoprotein (P-gp) is an active membrane transporter responsible for cell detoxification against numerous amphiphilic compounds, leading to multidrug resistance in tumor cells. It displays entangled connections with its membrane environment since it recognizes its substrates within the cytosolic leaflet and it also translocates some endogenous lipids to the exoplasmic leaflet. Regarding its relationships with membrane microdomains, 'lipid rafts', a literature analysis concludes that (i) P-gp also exists in rafts and non-raft membrane domains, depending on the cell considered, the experimental conditions and the method used to test it; (ii) cholesterol has a positive influence on P-gp function, and this may be a direct effect of the free cholesterol present in membrane or an indirect effect mediated by the cholesterol-enriched microdomains; (iii) when present in rafts, P-gp interacts with protein partners regulating its activity; (iv) P-gp is a lipid translocase that handles the raft-constituting lipids with particular efficiency, and it also influences membrane trafficking in the cell.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / metabolism
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / physiology*
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport*
  • Caveolin 1 / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane Structures / enzymology*
  • Cell Membrane Structures / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane Structures / physiology
  • Cholesterol / metabolism
  • Cholesterol / physiology
  • Endocytosis / physiology
  • Glycosphingolipids / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipids / chemistry
  • Membrane Microdomains / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Signal Transduction
  • Virus Diseases / metabolism


  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1
  • Caveolin 1
  • Glycosphingolipids
  • Lipids
  • Cholesterol
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases