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J Biol Chem. 2003 Oct 10;278(41):39706-10. Epub 2003 Aug 7.

Simultaneous binding of two different drugs in the binding pocket of the human multidrug resistance P-glycoprotein.

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Canadian Institutes of Health Research Group in Membrane Biology, and Department of Medicine and, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A8, Canada.


The human multidrug resistance P-glycoprotein (P-gp, ABCB1) transports a wide variety of structurally diverse compounds out of the cell. The drug-binding pocket of P-gp is located in the transmembrane domains. Although occupation of the drug-binding pocket by one molecule is sufficient to activate the ATPase activity of P-gp, the drug-binding pocket may be large enough to accommodate two different substrates at the same time. In this study, we used cysteine-scanning mutagenesis to test whether P-gp could simultaneously interact with the thiol-reactive drug substrate, Tris-(2-maleimidoethyl)amine (TMEA) and a second drug substrate. TMEA is a cross-linker substrate of P-gp that allowed us to test for stimulation of cross-linking by a second substrate such as calcein-acetoxymethyl ester, colchicine, demecolcine, cyclosporin A, rhodamine B, progesterone, and verapamil. We report that verapamil induced TMEA cross-linking of mutant F343C(TM6)/V982C(TM12). By contrast, no cross-linked product was detected in mutants F343C(TM6), V982C(TM12), or F343C(TM6)/V982C(TM12) in the presence of TMEA alone. The verapamil-stimulated ATPase activity of mutant F343C(TM6)/V982C(TM12) in the presence of TMEA decreased with increased cross-linking of the mutant protein. These results show that binding of verapamil must induce changes in the drug-binding pocket (induced-fit mechanism) resulting in exposure of residues F343C(TM6)/V982C(TM12) to TMEA. The results also indicate that the common drug-binding pocket in P-gp is large enough to accommodate both verapamil and TMEA simultaneously and suggests that the substrates must occupy different regions in the common drug-binding pocket.

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