The organic cation transporters OCT1-3 (SLC22A1-3) facilitate the transport of cationic endo- and xenobiotics and are important mediators of drug distribution and elimination. Their polyspecific nature makes OCTs highly susceptible to drug-drug interactions (DDIs). Currently, screening of OCT inhibitors depends on uptake assays that require labeled substrates to detect transport activity. However, these uptake assays have several limitations. Hence, there is a need to develop novel assays to study OCT activity in a physiological relevant environment without the need to label the substrate. Here, a label-free impedance-based transport assay is established that detects OCT-mediated transport activity and inhibition utilizing the neurotoxin MPP+. Uptake of MPP+ by OCTs induced concentration-dependent changes in cellular impedance that were inhibited by decynium-22, corticosterone, and Tyrosine Kinase inhibitors. OCT-mediated MPP+ transport activity and inhibition were quantified on both OCT1-3 overexpressing cells and HeLa cells endogenously expressing OCT3. Moreover, the method presented here is a valuable tool to identify novel inhibitors and potential DDI partners for MPP+ transporting solute carrier proteins (SLCs) in general.
Keywords: MPP+; OCT; SLC22A1-3; label-free; transport; xCELLigence.