Fluorescent probes for the dual investigation of MRP2 and OATP1B1 function and drug interactions

Eur J Pharm Sci. 2020 Aug 1;151:105395. doi: 10.1016/j.ejps.2020.105395. Epub 2020 May 29.


Detoxification in hepatocytes is a strictly controlled process, in which the governed action of membrane transporters involved in the uptake and efflux of potentially dangerous molecules has a crucial role. Major transporters of hepatic clearance belong to the ABC (ATP Binding Cassette) and Solute Carrier (SLC) protein families. Organic anion-transporting polypeptide OATP1B1 (encoded by the SLCO1B1 gene) is exclusively expressed in the sinusoidal membrane of hepatocytes, where it mediates the cellular uptake of bile acids, bilirubin, and also that of various drugs. The removal of toxic molecules from hepatocytes to the bile is accomplished by several ABC transporters, including P-glycoprotein (ABCB1), MRP2 (ABCC2) and BCRP (ABCG2). Owing to their pharmacological relevance, monitoring drug interaction with OATP1B1/3 and ABC proteins is recommended. Our aim was to assess the interaction of recently identified fluorescent OATP substrates (various dyes used in cell viability assays, pyranine, Cascade Blue hydrazide (CB) and sulforhodamine 101 (SR101)) (Bakos et al., 2019; Patik et al., 2018) with MRP2 and ABCG2 in order to find fluorescent probes for the simultaneous characterization of both uptake and efflux processes. Transport by MRP2 and ABCG2 was investigated in inside-out membrane vesicles (IOVs) allowing a fast screen of the transport of membrane impermeable substrates by efflux transporters. Next, transcellular transport of shared OATP and ABC transporter substrate dyes was evaluated in MDCKII cells co-expressing OATP1B1 and MRP2 or ABCG2. Our results indicate that pyranine is a general substrate of OATP1B1, OATP1B3 and OATP2B1, and we find that the dye Live/Dead Violet and CB are good tools to investigate ABCG2 function in IOVs. Besides their suitability for MRP2 functional tests in the IOV setup, pyranine, CB and SR101 are the first dual probes that can be used to simultaneously measure OATP1B1 and MRP2 function in polarized cells by a fluorescent method.

Keywords: ABCG2; Drug interaction; Fluorescent dye; MRP2; OATP; Transcellular assay.