Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes

, Volume 37, Issue 6, pp 489–496

The Remarkable Transport Mechanism of P-Glycoprotein: A Multidrug Transporter

  • Marwan K. Al-Shawi
  • Hiroshi Omote

DOI: 10.1007/s10863-005-9497-5

Cite this article as:
Al-Shawi, M.K. & Omote, H. J Bioenerg Biomembr (2005) 37: 489. doi:10.1007/s10863-005-9497-5


Human P-glycoprotein (ABCB1) is a primary multidrug transporter located in plasma membranes, that utilizes the energy of ATP hydrolysis to pump toxic xenobiotics out of cells. P-glycoprotein employs a most unusual molecular mechanism to perform this drug transport function. Here we review our work to elucidate the molecular mechanism of drug transport by P-glycoprotein. High level heterologous expression of human P-glycoprotein, in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, has facilitated biophysical studies in purified proteoliposome preparations. Development of novel spin-labeled transport substrates has allowed for quantitative and rigorous measurements of drug transport in real time by EPR spectroscopy. We have developed a new drug transport model of P-glycoprotein from the results of mutagenic, quantitative thermodynamic and kinetic studies. This model satisfactorily accounts for most of the unusual kinetic, coupling, and physiological features of P-glycoprotein. Additionally, an atomic detail structural model of P-glycoprotein has been devised to place our results within a proper structural context.

Key Words

P-glycoproteinmultidrug resistancetransporterenergy couplingmechanismthermodynamicskineticsEPRhomology modelingheterologous expression

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marwan K. Al-Shawi
    • 1
  • Hiroshi Omote
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Molecular Physiology and Biological PhysicsUniversity of Virginia Health SystemCharlottesville
  2. 2.Department of Membrane Biochemistry, Faculty of Pharmaceutical SciencesOkayama UniversityOkayamaJapan