The human ATP-binding cassette (ABC) superfamily consists of 48 members with 14 of them identified in normal human liver at the protein level. Most of the ABC members act as ATP dependent efflux transport systems. In the liver, ABC transporters are involved in diverse physiological processes including export of cholesterol, bile salts, and metabolic endproducts. Consequently, impaired ABC transporter function is involved in inherited diseases like sitosterolemia, hyperbilirubinemia, or cholestasis. Furthermore, altered expression of some of the hepatic ABCs have been associated with primary liver tumors. This review gives a short overview about the function of hepatic ABCs. Special focus is addressed on the localization and ontogenesis of ABC transporters in the human liver. In addition, their expression pattern in primary liver tumors is discussed.
Keywords: cancer; expression; human ABC transporters; liver; localization; ontogenesis.
© 2013 International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.