Transport properties of the multidrug resistance-associated protein (MRP) in human tumour cells

FEBS Lett. 1996 Mar 25;383(1-2):99-104. doi: 10.1016/0014-5793(96)00237-2.


In this paper we demonstrate that the expression of the multidrug resistance-associated protein (MRP) in a variety of intact human tumour cells results in the ATP-dependent, mutually exclusive extrusion of both the acetoxymethyl ester and the free anion forms of the fluorescent dye calcein, as well as that of a fluorescent pyrenemaleimide-glutathione conjugate. The MRP-dependent transport of all these three model compounds closely correlates with the expression level of MRP and is cross-inhibited by hydrophobic anticancer drugs, by reversing agents for MDR1, and also by compounds not influencing MDR1, such as hydrophobic anions, alkylating agents, and inhibitors of organic anion transporters. Cellular glutathione depletion affects neither the MRP-dependent extrusion of calcein AM or free calcein, nor its modulation by most hydrophobic or anionic compounds, although eliminating the cross-inhibitory effect of glutathione conjugates. These results suggest that the outward pumping of both hydrophobic uncharged and water-soluble anionic compounds, including glutathione conjugates, is an inherent property of MRP, and offer sensitive methods for the functional diagnostics of this transport protein as well as for the rapid screening of drug-resistance modulating agents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / metabolism
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / metabolism*
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Biological Transport / drug effects
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple
  • Fluoresceins / metabolism*
  • Fluorescent Dyes / metabolism
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Maleimides / metabolism
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Fluoresceins
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Maleimides
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins
  • calcein AM
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • N-(3-pyrene)maleimide
  • Glutathione