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Environ Health Perspect. 1997 Aug;105(8):812-8.

Structure-activity relationships for xenobiotic transport substrates and inhibitory ligands of P-glycoprotein.

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Department of Toxicology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695, USA.


The multixenobiotic resistance phenotype is characterized by the reduced accumulation of xenobiotics by cells or organisms due to increased efflux of the compounds by P-glycoprotein (P-gp) or related transporters. An extensive xenobiotic database, consisting primarily of pesticides, was utilized in this study to identify molecular characteristics that render a xenobiotic susceptible to transport by or inhibition of P-gp. Transport substrates were differentiated by several molecular size/shape parameters, lipophilicity, and hydrogen bonding potential. Electrostatic features differentiated inhibitory ligands from compounds not catagorized as transport substrates and that did no interact with P-gp. A two-tiered system was developed using the derived structure-activity relationships to identify P-gp transport substrates and inhibitory ligands. Prediction accuracy of the approach was 82%. We then validated the system using six additional pesticides of which tow were predicted to be P-gp inhibitors and four were predicted to be noninteractors, based upon the structure-activity analyses. Experimental determinations using cells transfected with the human MDR1 gene demonstrated that five of the six pesticides were properly catagorized by the structure-activity analyses (83% accuracy). Finally, structure-activity analyses revealed that among P-gp inhibitors, relative inhibitory potency can be predicted based upon the surface area or volume of the compound. These results demonstrate that P-gp transport substrates and inhibitory ligands can be distinguished using molecular characteristics. Molecular characteristics of transport substrates suggest that P-gp may function in the elimination of hydroxylated metabolites of xenobiotics.

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