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Kidney Int. 1997 Oct;52(4):953-61.

Overexpression of ecto-5'-nucleotidase promotes P-glycoprotein expression in renal epithelial cells.

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INSERM U 426, Faculté Xavier-Bichat, Université Denis-Diderot, Paris, France.


P-glycoprotein (P-gp), responsible for multidrug resistance (MDR) of tumoral cells, is also expressed in apical membranes of normal epithelial cells, among which are proximal tubular cells. Ecto-5'-nucleotidase (5'Nu), co-located with P-gp in renal brush border membranes, could be instrumental in the expression of MDR phenotype. P-gp activity [assessed by rhodamine 123 (R123) and [3H]vinblastine (3H-VBL) accumulation] was evaluated in MDCK cell lines in which human 5'Nu was expressed at different levels after retroviral infection: MDCK-5'NU/- cells with a low 5'Nu activity (Vmax < 2 pmol/mg protein/min) and MDCK-5'NU/+ cells, which expressed a high level of 5'Nu (Vmax 150 +/- 18.5 pmol/mg protein/min). MDCK-5'NU/- cells did not display functional expression of MDR. In MDCK-5'NU/+ cells, R123 and 3H-VBL accumulation was significantly lower than in MDCK-5'NU/- cells and was dramatically enhanced by P-gp inhibitors. This high P-gp activity in MDCK-5'NU/+ cells was confirmed by their resistance to colchicine (measured by LDH release and MTT assay) as compared to MDCK-5'NU/- and was accounted for by increased membrane expression of P-gp assessed by Western blot. Neither AMP nor adenosine, the substrate and the product of 5'Nu, respectively, affected P-gp activity. Inhibition of 5'Nu with alpha beta-methylene-adenosine-diphosphate (alpha beta MADP) or with a blocking anti-5'Nu antibody (1E9) did not blunt MDR expression in MDCK-5'NU/+ cells. Conversely, the anti-5'Nu antibody 5F/F9, which did not block the enzymatic site, induced a decrease of P-gp activity. Further, incubation of MDCK-5'NU/- cells with conditioned medium from MDCK-5'NU/+ cells, which contained significant amounts of released 5'Nu, induced MDR phenotype.


(i) expression of ecto-5'Nu promotes multidrug resistance (MDR) activity in renal epithelial cells by enhancement of P-gp expression; (ii) this effect does not involve enzymatic activity of 5'Nu; (iii) supernatants of cells that express 5'Nu conferred P-gp activity to 5'Nu negative cells.

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