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Biochemistry. 2004 Sep 28;43(38):12081-9.

The drug-binding pocket of the human multidrug resistance P-glycoprotein is accessible to the aqueous medium.

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CIHR Group in Membrane Biology, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A8, Canada.


P-Glycoprotein (P-gp) is an ATP-dependent drug pump that transports a broad range of compounds out of the cell. Cross-linking studies have shown that the drug-binding pocket is at the interface between the transmembrane (TM) domains and can simultaneously bind two different drug substrates. Here, we determined whether cysteine residues within the drug-binding pocket were accessible to the aqueous medium. Cysteine mutants were tested for their reactivity with the charged thiol-reactive compounds sodium (2-sulfonatoethyl)methanethiosulfonate (MTSES) and [2-(trimethylammonium)ethyl)]methanethiosulfonate (MTSET). Residue Ile-306(TM5) is close to the verapamil-binding site. It was changed to cysteine, reacted with MTSES or MTSET, and assayed for verapamil-stimulated ATPase activity. Reaction of mutant I306C(TM5) with either compound reduced its affinity for verapamil. We confirmed that the reduced affinity for verapamil was indeed due to introduction of a charge at position 306 by demonstrating that similar effects were observed when Ile-306 was replaced with arginine or glutamic acid. Mutant I306R showed a 50-fold reduction in affinity for verapamil and very little change in the affinity for rhodamine B or colchicine. MTSES or MTSET modification also affected the cross-linking pattern between pairs of cysteines in the drug-binding pocket. For example, both MTSES and MTSET inhibited cross-linking between I306C(TM5) and I868C(TM10). Inhibition was enhanced by ATP hydrolysis. By contrast, cross-linking of cysteine residues located outside the drug-binding pocket (such as G300C(TM5)/F770C(TM8)) was not affected by MTSES or MTSET. These results indicate that the drug-binding pocket is accessible to water.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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