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Physiol Rev. 1997 Apr;77(2):545-90.

Kinetics of the multidrug transporter (P-glycoprotein) and its reversal.

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Department of Biological Chemistry, Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel.


Most cancer deaths result from the cancer's either being intrinsically resistant to chemotherapeutic drugs or becoming resistant after being initially sensitive. Often, in cells grown in cell culture, drug resistance correlates with the presence of one or more of the so-called P-glycoproteins or multidrug resistance proteins, products of the mdr family of genes. This review is largely concerned with the transport kinetics of the P-glycoproteins. We first present a brief overview of the P-glycoproteins, their properties, and their clinical significance. Later sections of the review expand on this material with special emphasis on the substrates of P-glycoprotein and how they cross the cell membrane, on the transport kinetics of the P-glycoprotein, on reversers of its action, and on its activity as an ATPase. In a final section, we consider the mechanism of action of P-glycoprotein as an actively transporting membrane pump. The characteristic of P-glycoprotein considered the most difficult to explain is its very broad specificity (or lack of specificity), but there are precedents for this property in well-known proteins such as serum albumin, which binds a range of molecular types, including substrates and reversers of P-glycoprotein, seemingly as broad as does P-glycoprotein. Pointing out this analogy does not provide a molecular explanation for the substrate-binding properties of P-glycoprotein but does make those properties more assimilable.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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