Organic anion-transporting polypeptides are members of the solute carrier (SLC) family and key determinants for the transmembrane transport of a wide variety of compounds. OATP1B1 is predominantly expressed at the basolateral membrane of human hepatocytes and play an important role in drug clearance from the body. It has been demonstrated to be responsible for the hepatic uptake of various drugs. Computer-based hydropathy analysis predicted several putative phosphorylation sites at the amino and carboxyl termini and at intracellular loop 3 of OATP family members. Therefore, their transport functions may be regulated by phosphorylation. Previous studies have demonstrated that uptake function of OATP2B1 and OATP1A2 is regulated by protein kinase C (PKC). In the present study, we treated HEK293 cells stably expressing OATP1B1 with different PKC modulators and measured their transport activity for prototypic substrate estrone-3-sulfate. It was found that OATP1B1 uptake function was reduced upon PKC activation. Further studies indicated that PKC may affect OATP1B1 activity through regulation of the cell surface protein level. Moreover, we found out that PKC activator phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) not only affects the internalization of OATP1B1 but its recycling as well. Immunocytochemistry analysis revealed that internalized OATP1B1 co-localized with early and recycling endosomal markers and the co-localization of OATP1B1 with recycling endosome is dependent on PKC activation. Taken together, our present study demonstrated that PKC regulates the function of OATP1B1 by affecting internalization and recycling of the transporter protein.
Keywords: Drug transport; Internalization; Organic anion transporting polypeptide; Phosphorylation; Recycling.
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