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Cancer Res. 1997 Sep 1;57(17):3708-16.

Identification of a new P-glycoprotein-like ATP-binding cassette transporter gene that is overexpressed during hepatocarcinogenesis.

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  • 1Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee 38105, USA.


The liver is remarkably insensitive to a variety of cytotoxins and expresses a number of known drug resistance genes. To isolate new P-glycoprotein (Pgp)-related genes, we screened a normal rat liver cDNA library at low stringency with a MDR1 cDNA fragment containing the P-loop and ATP binding site. We isolated a novel cDNA closely related to the Pgps that is dramatically increased in hepatic neoplasia and refer to it as P-glycoprotein-related protein (PRP). The predicted protein shows PRP to be a member of the ATP-Binding Cassette (ABC) family of proteins, and a multisequence comparison of the nucleotide binding domain and the ABC family signature sequences reveals that PRP sequences are highly conserved with the greatest similarity to the yeast heavy metal transporter encoded by hmtl. However, the hydropathy plot analysis suggests that PRP does not have any prominent membrane-spanning domains and thus is not typical of ABC transporters. The PRP transcript is detected in many normal tissues. In the H35 hepatoma cell line, PRP was overexpressed compared to normal liver. Southern blot analysis of DNA from the H35 rat hepatoma cells reveals that the PRP gene was amplified compared to normal liver. The orotic acid model of hepatocarcinogenesis was used to determine if during stepwise progression to liver cancer, PRP changed with hepatocarcinogenesis. At the hyperplastic nodule stage, PRP expression was increased over its expression in normal surrounding liver. More dramatic increases in PRP expression were found in frank hepatic carcinomas. Cumulatively, these studies are the first to link a novel ABC family member to the hepatic neoplastic process, a role that may be recapitulated in other cells, considering the ubiquitous expression of PRP.

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