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J Histochem Cytochem. 1998 Apr;46(4):513-7.

Different pattern of MRP localization in ciliated and basal cells from human bronchial epithelium.

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Laboratoire d'Histologie-Biologie Tumorale, Université Pierre et Marie Curie Paris VI, Hôpital Tenon, Paris, France.


The MRP (multidrug resistance-associated protein) transmembrane transporter, which actively transports a wide variety of lipophilic substrates out of cancer cells, has been suggested to play a major role in cell detoxification via efflux of glutathione conjugates. Because bronchial epithelial cells are constantly exposed to environmental pollutants, MRP might be a particularly important defense mechanism against xenobiotics. This study was therefore designed to investigate MRP localization by immunohistochemistry in bronchial epithelial cells collected by scraping from surgical specimens. In parallel, MRP mRNA was detected by reverse transcriptase chain reaction (rt-PCR) in bronchial cell lysates. However, the pattern of protein expression differed markedly according to cell type. In ciliated epithelial cells, immunostaining was restricted to the basolateral surface, without any labeling at the apical surface, which is at variance with the localization of CFTR and MDR1 proteins, other members of the same family of transporters. In basal cells, MRP was present over the entire circumference of the plasma membrane. Basal cells were identified by their morphology and specifically after incubation with an anticytokeratin 17 monoclonal antibody. In conclusion, the different patterns of localization suggest specific roles for MRP in basal and ciliated cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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