Modulation of GSH levels in ABCC1 expressing tumor cells triggers apoptosis through oxidative stress

Biochem Pharmacol. 2007 Jun 1;73(11):1727-37. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2007.02.005. Epub 2007 Feb 15.


The over-expression of ABCC1 transmembrane protein has been shown to cause multidrug resistance in tumor cell lines. ABCC1 is a member of the ABC transmembrane proteins that function as efflux pumps with diverse substrate specificity. Several endogenous cell metabolites, including the leukotriene C4 (LTC(4)) and glutathione (GSH) are substrates for ABCC1 protein. ABCC1 expression in certain tumor cells was demonstrated to confer hypersensitivity to glutathione modulating agents. In this report we have investigated the mechanism of collateral sensitivity seen in tumor cells over-expressing ABCC1 protein. The results of this study show that ABCC1 expression in tumor cells correlates with their hypersensitivity to various glutathione modulating agents, as demonstrated in H69AR-drug selected and HeLa/ABCC1-transfectant cells. This effect was triggered either through inhibition of GSH synthesis with BSO or by increasing ABCC1-mediated GSH transport with verapamil or apigenin. In addition, our results show that the hypersensitivity of ABCC1-expressing cells to BSO, verapamil or apigenin was preceded by an increase in reactive oxygen species (or ROS). A decrease in GSH level is also observed prior the increase in ROS. In addition, we show that hypersensitivity to the BSO, verapamil or apigenin leads to tumor cell death by apoptosis. Together, the results of this study demonstrate that ABCC1 potentiates oxidative stress in tumor cells through reductions in cellular GSH levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Glutathione / metabolism*
  • Glutathione / physiology
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins / genetics
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins / metabolism*
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*


  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins
  • Glutathione
  • multidrug resistance-associated protein 1