Stoichiometry of coupling of rhodamine 123 transport to ATP hydrolysis by P-glycoprotein

Eur J Biochem. 1998 May 15;254(1):189-93. doi: 10.1046/j.1432-1327.1998.2540189.x.


In order to describe the transport mechanism of P-glycoprotein, it is essential to know the coupling ratio, i.e. the moles substrate transported/mole ATP hydrolyzed. P-glycoprotein couples ATP hydrolysis at two ATP-binding sites to transport of a wide variety of neutral or cationic lipophilic compounds. Previously published coupling ratios have fallen within the range 0.02-0.8 mol substrate transported/mol ATP hydrolyzed. We studied the energetics of transport by P-glycoprotein, performing quantitative measurements of the rates of ATP hydrolysis and transport of rhodamine 123 by P-glycoprotein, using isolated P-glycoprotein-rich plasma membrane vesicles. The continuous fluorescence-based assay of rhodamine 123 transport allowed accurate measurement of initial transport rates. Since we measured uptake of rhodamine 123 into the vesicles as a loss of fluorescence, we avoided the problem of high background due to substrate binding to the membranes. The coupling ratio of the transport reaction increased as the rhodamine 123 concentration increased, showing that the basal ATPase activity of P-glycoprotein was progressively recruited for rhodamine 123 transport. Both of the previously identified transport sites of P-glycoprotein [Shapiro, A. B. & Ling, V. (1997a) Eur J. Biochem. 250, 130-137] were involved in transport of saturating concentrations of rhodamine 123. At saturating rhodamine 123 and 0.3 mM ATP, the coupling ratio was 0.83, suggesting a mechanistic coupling ratio of 1. Interestingly, the coupling ratio decreased as the ATP concentration increased so that, at 1.5 mM, close to the cytoplasmic concentration of ATP, the coupling ratio was 0.57. The physiological significance of this effect is not yet understood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / metabolism*
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / metabolism
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Benzimidazoles / pharmacology
  • Binding Sites / physiology
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • CHO Cells
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Cricetinae
  • Fluorescent Dyes / metabolism
  • Kinetics
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Rhodamine 123
  • Rhodamines / pharmacokinetics*


  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1
  • Benzimidazoles
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Rhodamines
  • Rhodamine 123
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • bisbenzimide ethoxide trihydrochloride