ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters represent one of the largest and oldest families of membrane proteins in all extant phyla from prokaryotes to humans, which couple the energy derived from ATP hydrolysis essentially to translocate, among various substrates, toxic compounds across the membrane. The fundamental functions of these multiple transporter proteins include: (1) conserved mechanisms related to nutrition and pathogenesis in bacteria, (2) spore formation in fungi, and (3) signal transduction, protein secretion and antigen presentation in eukaryotes. Moreover, one of the major causes of multidrug resistance (MDR) and chemotherapeutic failure in cancer therapy is believed to be the ABC transporter-mediated active efflux of a multitude of structurally and mechanistically distinct cytotoxic compounds across membranes. It has been postulated that ABC transporter inhibitors known as chemosensitizers may be used in combination with standard chemotherapeutic agents to enhance their therapeutic efficacy. The current paper reviews the advance in the past decade in this important domain of cancer chemoresistance and summarizes the development of new compounds and the re-evaluation of compounds originally designed for other targets as transport inhibitors of ATP-dependent drug efflux pumps.
Keywords: ABC transporters; Marine sponges; Modulators; Multidrug resistance; Natural products; Phosphodiesterase inhibitors; Tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
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