Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)TiHo eLib

Is P-glycoprotein functionally expressed in the limiting membrane of endolysosomes? : A biochemical and ultrastructural study in the rat liver

The drug efflux transporter P-glycoprotein (Pgp; ABCB1) plays an important role in drug absorption, disposition, and elimination. There is an ongoing debate whether, in addition to its localization at the plasma membrane, Pgp may also be expressed at the limiting membrane of endolysosomes (ELs), mediating active EL drug sequestration. If true, this would be an important mechanism to prevent drugs from reaching their intracellular targets. However, direct evidence demonstrating the functional expression of Pgp at the limiting membrane of ELs is lacking. This prompted us to perform a biochemical and ultrastructural study on the intracellular localization of Pgp in native rat liver. For this purpose, we established an improved subcellular fractionation procedure for the enrichment of ELs and employed different biochemical and ultrastructural methods to characterize the Pgp localization and function in the enriched EL fractions. Whereas the biochemical methods seemed to indicate that Pgp is functionally expressed at EL limiting membranes, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) indicated that this only occurs rarely, if at all. Instead, Pgp was found in the limiting membrane of early endosomes and intraluminal vesicles. In additional TEM experiments, using a Pgp-overexpressing brain microvessel endothelial cell line (hCMEC/D3-MDR1-EGFP), we examined whether Pgp is expressed at the limiting membrane of ELs when cells are exposed to high levels of the Pgp substrate doxorubicin. Pgp was seen in early endosomes but only rarely in endolysosomes, whereas Pgp immunogold labeling was detected in large autophagosomes. In summary, our data demonstrate the importance of combining biochemical and ultrastructural methods to investigate the relationship between Pgp localization and function.

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