The human multidrug resistance-associated protein MRP confers resistance to various cytotoxic drugs by lowering the intracellular drug concentration. Recent evidence indicates that MRP can also transport glutathione S-conjugates across membranes. To study the transport properties of MRP in intact cells, we have expressed human MRP cDNA in the polarized pig kidney epithelial cell line LLC-PK1. MRP mainly localized to the basolateral plasma membrane of these cells, and not to the apical membrane, as determined by immunocytochemistry using confocal laser scanning and electron microscopy. In accordance with this localization, MRP caused increased transport of the glutathione S-conjugate S-(2, 4-dinitrophenyl)-glutathione and of the anticancer drug daunorubicin to the basal side of the epithelial cell layer. Sulfinpyrazone and probenecid, known inhibitors of multispecific organic anion transport, inhibited this basolateral transport, but not the apical transport of daunorubicin mediated by the apically localized human MDR1 P-glycoprotein in MDR1-transfected LLC-PK1 cells. Probenecid and sulfinpyrazone may therefore be useful lead compounds for the development of clinical reversal agents specific for MRP-mediated drug resistance.
R Evers, G J Zaman, L van Deemter, H Jansen, J Calafat, L C Oomen, R P Oude Elferink, P Borst, A H Schinkel