Dynamic and intracellular trafficking of P-glycoprotein-EGFP fusion protein: Implications in multidrug resistance in cancer

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Journal Article
International Journal of Cancer, 2004, 109 (2), pp. 174 - 181
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In our present study, a P-glycoprotein-EGFP (P-gp-EGFP) fusion plasmid was constructed and functionally expressed in HeLa cells to investigate the intracellular localization and trafficking of P-glycoprotein (P-gp). Using immunocytochemistry and fluorescent confocal microscopy techniques, colocalization studies showed that after transfection, P-gp- EGFP was progressively transported from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to the Golgi and finally to the plasma membrane within 1248 hr. The degree of intracellular accumulation of daunorubicin was related to the particular localization of P-gp-EGFP. Significant daunorubicin accumulation occurred in transfected cells when P-gp-EGFP was localized predominantly within the ER, and accumulation remained high when P-gp-EGFP was mainly localized in the Golgi. However, there was little or no intracellular accumulation of daunorubicin when P-gp-EGFP was localized predominantly on the plasma membrane. Blocking the intracellular trafficking of P-gp-EGFP with brefeldin A (BFA) and monensin resulted in inhibition of traffic of P-gp-EGFP and retention of P-gp-EGFP intracellularly. Intracellular accumulation of daunorubicin also increased in the presence of BFA or monensin. Our study shows that P-gp-EGFP can be used to define the dynamics of P-gp traffic in a transient expression system, and demonstrates that localization of P-gp on the plasma membrane is associated with the highest level of resistance to daunorubicin accumulation in cells. Modulation of intracellular localization of P-gp with agents designed to selectively modify its traffic may provide a new strategy for overcoming multidrug resistance in cancer cells.
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