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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2009 Feb;66(3):504-15. doi: 10.1007/s00018-008-8548-6.

The role of P-glycoprotein/cellular prion protein interaction in multidrug-resistant breast cancer cells treated with paclitaxel.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, 138 Yi Xue Yuan Road, Shanghai 200032, China.


We previously reported that treatment with P-glycoprotein (P-gp) substrates promotes in vitro invasion in multidrug-resistant (MDR) breast cancer cells. This effect is initiated by the P-gp pump function and mediated by interaction of P-gp with some unknown component(s). However, the underlying mechanism(s) remains poorly understood. Here we confirm a novel physical interaction between P-gp and cellular prion protein (PrP(c)). Blocking P-gp activity or depletion of PrP(c) inhibited paclitaxel (P-gp substrate)- induced invasion. Paclitaxel further facilitated the formation of P-gp/PrP(c) clusters residing in caveolar domains and promoted the association of P-gp with caveolin-1. Both caveolin-1 and the integrity of caveolae were required for the drug-induced invasion. In addition, the P-gp/PrP(c) complex also played an important role in anti-apoptotic activity of MCF7/Adr cells.These data provide new insights into the mode by which MDR breast cancers evade cytotoxic attacks from P-gp substrates and also suggest a role for P-gp/ PrP(c) interaction in this process.

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