P-Glycoprotein - Implications of Metabolism of Neoplastic Cells and Cancer Therapy
Albert Breier, Miroslav Barancik, Zdenka Sulova and Branislav Uhrik
Affiliation: Institute of Molecular Physiology and Genetics, SAS, Vlarska 5, 833 34 Bratislava, Slovak Republic.
Multidrug resistance (MDR) of neoplastic tissues is a major obstacle in cancer chemotherapy. The predominant cause of MDR is the overexpression and drug transport activity of P-glycoprotein (P-gp, a product of the MDR gene). P-gp is a member of the ATP binding cassette (ABC) transporters family, with broad substrate specificity for several substances including anticancer drugs, linear and cyclic peptides, inhibitors of HIV protease, and several other substances. The development of P-gp-mediated MDR is often associated with several changes in cell structure and metabolism of resistant cells. In the present review are discussed the relations between glucosylceramide synthase activity, Pregnane X receptor and development of P-gp mediated MDR phenotype. Attention is also focused on the changes in protein kinase systems (mitogen-activated protein kinases, protein kinase C, Akt kinase) that are associated with the development of MDR phenotype and to the possible role of these kinase cascades in modulation of P-gp expression and function. The overexpression of P-gp may be associated with changes in metabolism of sugars as well as energy production. Structural and ultrastructural characteristics of multidrug resistant cells expressing P-gp are typical for cells engaged in a metabolically demanding process of protein synthesis and transport. P-gp mediated MDR phenotype is often also associated with alterations in cytoskeletal elements, microtubule and mitochondria distribution, Golgi aparatus, chromatin texture, vacuoles and caveolae formation. The current review also aims at bringing some state-of-the-art information on interactions of P-glycoprotein with various substances. To capture and transport the numerous unrelated substances, P-gp should contain site(s) able to bind compounds with a molecular weight of several hundreds and comprising hydrophobic and/or base regions that are protonated under physiological conditions. Drug binding sites that are able to recognize substances with different chemical structures may have a complex architecture in which different parts are responsible for binding of different drugs. For P-gp substrates and inhibitors, a pharmacophore-based model has been described. The pharmacophores have to contain parts with hydrophobic and aromatic characteristics and functional groups that can act as hydrogen-bond donors and/or acceptors. Several drugs are known to be P-glycoprotein antagonizing agents. They represent a large group of structurally unrelated substances that can act via direct interaction with P-gp and inhibition of its transport activity, or via possible modulation of processes (such as phosphorylation) regulating P-gp transport activity. Effects of MDR reversal agents on the P-gp expression have also been reported. Function and expression of P-gp can be affected indirectly as well, e.g. through cyclooxygenase-2 or carbonic anhydrase-IX expression and effects.
Keywords: multidrug resistance (mdr), p-glycoprotein (p-gp), drug binding sites, p-gp substrate specificity, mdr reversal
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