Differential involvement of glutathione S-transferase mu 1 and multidrug resistance protein 1 in melanoma acquired resistance to vinca alkaloids

Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2015 Feb;29(1):62-71. doi: 10.1111/fcp.12093. Epub 2014 Dec 3.


On account of its extreme intrinsic resistance to apoptosis and of its strong ability to become chemoresistant after a primary response to drugs, malignant melanoma (MM) is still a therapeutic challenge. We previously showed that glutathione S-transferase mu 1 (GSTM1) acts in synergy with multidrug resistance protein 1 (MRP1) to protect GSTM1-transfected human CAL1 melanoma cells from toxic effects of vincristine (VCR). Herein, we investigated the role of these proteins in the acquired resistance of CAL1 cells to vinca alkaloids (VAs). Resistant lines were established by continuous exposure (>1 year) of parental CAL1-wt cells to VCR, vindesine (VDS), or vinorelbine (VRB): CAL1R-VCR, CAL1R-VDS, CAL1R-VRB, respectively. All resistant lines displayed more than 10-fold increase in resistance to their selection VA, and specifically expressed GSTM1. Suggesting a direct interaction between this protein and VAs, each VA specifically decreased the GSTM1-mediated glutathione conjugation activity in cell lysates. Curcumin (GSTM1 inhibitor), BSO (glutathione synthesis inhibitor), and MK571 (MRP1 inhibitor) considerably reversed the acquired resistance to VCR and VDS, but not to VRB. Microarray data analysis revealed similar gene expression patterns of CAL1R-VCR and CAL1R-VDS, and a distinct one for CAL1R-VRB. These data suggest a differential involvement of GSTM1 and MRP1 in acquired resistance to VAs. A coordinated expression and activity of GSTM1 and MRP1 is required to protect CAL1 cells from VCR and VDS, while the simple expression of GSTM1 is sufficient, possibly by a direct drug/protein interaction, to confer resistance against VRB.

Keywords: glutathione S-transferases; melanoma; multidrug resistance proteins; vinca alkaloids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / physiology*
  • Glutathione Transferase / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / drug therapy*
  • Melanoma / metabolism
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins / metabolism*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Vinblastine / analogs & derivatives
  • Vinblastine / pharmacology
  • Vinca Alkaloids / pharmacology*
  • Vindesine / pharmacology
  • Vinorelbine


  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins
  • Vinca Alkaloids
  • Vinblastine
  • Glutathione Transferase
  • glutathione S-transferase M1
  • Vinorelbine
  • Vindesine
  • multidrug resistance-associated protein 1