Affiliation: Indiana University Cancer Research Institute, 1044 West Walnut, R4-119, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.
A major problem in cancer treatment is the development of resistance to multiple chemotherapeutic agents in tumor cells. A major mechanism of this multidrug resistance (MDR) is overexpression of the MDR1 product Pglycoprotein, known to bind to and transport a wide variety of agents. This review concentrates on the progress made toward understanding the role of this protein in MDR, identifying and characterizing the drug binding sites of Pglycoprotein, and modulating MDR by P-glycoprotein-specific inhibitors. Since our initial discovery that P-glycoprotein binds to vinblastine photoaffinity analogs, many P-glycoprotein-specific photoaffinity analogs have been developed and used to identify the particular domains of P-glycoprotein capable of interacting with these analogs and other Pglycoprotein substrates. Furthermore, significant advances have been made in delineating the drug binding sites of this protein by studying mutant P-glycoprotein. Photoaffinity labeling experiments and the use of site-directed antibodies to several domains of this protein have allowed the localization of the general binding domains of some of the cytotoxic agents and MDR modulators on P-glycoprotein. Moreover, site-directed mutagenesis studies have identified the amino acids critical for the binding of some of these agents to P-glycoprotein. Furthermore, equilibrium binding assays using plasma membranes from MDR cells and radioactive drugs have aided our understanding of the modes of drug interactions with P-glycoprotein. Based on the available data, a topological model of P-glycoprotein and the approximate locations of its drug binding sites, as well as a proposed classification of multiple drug binding sites of this protein, is presented in this review.