Breast Cancer Resistance Protein (ABCG2/BCRP) is an ATP-binding cassette transporter expressed in absorptive and excretory organs whose main physiological role is protection of cells against xenobiotics. In addition, ABCG2/BCRP expression has been linked to cellular resistance to anticancer drugs due to the acquisition of a multidrug resistance phenotype. Fumitremorgin C (FTC) is a mycotoxin described as a potent ABCG2/BCRP inhibitor that reverses multidrug resistance. However, little is known about its species-specificity. This issue is scientifically relevant since FTC is widely used to evaluate the in vitro role of BCRP. We compared the FTC-mediated inhibition of human BCRP and its murine orthologue, overexpressed in two independent cell lines, MDCKII and MEF3.8 transduced cell lines. Accumulation experiments, using mitoxantrone and chlorine e6 as substrates, revealed that although FTC inhibits both Bcrp1 and BCRP, the human transporter is more potently inhibited, resulting in significantly lower IC(50) values. Transcellular transport of known Bcrp1/BCRP substrates, such as nitrofurantoin and mitoxantrone, was completely inhibited by FTC 1muM in human BCRP-transduced cells but only moderately in murine Bcrp1-transduced cells. Finally, cytotoxicity assays using mitoxantrone and topotecan as substrates revealed that the EC(90) values for FTC were always significantly lower in human BCRP-transduced cells. Altogether, these results indicate that human BCRP is more sensitive to inhibition by FTC than murine Bcrp1. This differential inhibition could have a great impact on the use of in vitro models of toxicity and pharmacological interaction for drug discovery and development involving FTC as Bcrp1/BCRP inhibitor.
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