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FEBS J. 2014 Feb;281(3):673-82. doi: 10.1111/febs.12613. Epub 2014 Jan 17.

Understanding polyspecificity within the substrate-binding cavity of the human multidrug resistance P-glycoprotein.

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Drug Resistance Mechanism and Modulation group, Ligue 2013 certified, Molecular and Structural Basis of Infectious Systems, Mixed Research Unit between the National Centre for Scientific Research and Lyon I University n°5086, Institute of Biology and Chemistry of Proteins, France.


Human P-glycoprotein (P-gp) controls drugs bioavailability by pumping structurally unrelated drugs out of cells. The X-ray structure of the mouse P-gp ortholog has been solved, with two SSS enantiomers or one RRR enantiomer of the selenohexapeptide inhibitor QZ59, found within the putative drug-binding pocket (Aller SG, Yu J, Ward A, Weng Y, Chittaboina S, Zhuo R, Harrell PM, Trinh YT, Zhang Q, Urbatsch IL et al. (2009). Science 323, 1718-1722). This offered the first opportunity to localize the well-known H and R drug-binding sites with respect to the QZ59 inhibition mechanisms of Hoechst 33342 and daunorubicin transports, characterized here in cellulo. We found that QZ59-SSS competes efficiently with both substrates, with K(I,app) values of 0.15 and 0.3 μM, which are 13 and 2 times lower, respectively, than the corresponding K(m,app) values. In contrast, QZ59-RRR non-competitively inhibited daunorubicin transport with moderate efficacy (K(I,app) = 1.9 μM); it also displayed a mixed-type inhibition of the Hoechst 33342 transport, resulting from a main non-competitive tendency (K(i2,app) = 1.6 μM) and a limited competitive tendency (K(i1,app) = 5 μM). These results suggest a positional overlap of QZ59 and drugs binding sites: full for the SSS enantiomer and partial for the RRR enantiomer. Crystal structure analysis suggests that the H site overlaps both QZ59-SSS locations while the R site overlaps the most embedded location.


ABC transporters; P-glycoprotein; cancer; drug efflux; drug resistance; drug-binding sites

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