, Volume 33, Issue 6, pp 493-501

MRP Subfamily Transporters and Resistance to Anticancer Agents

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Abstract

The MRP subfamily of ABC transporters from mammals consists of at least seven members, six of which have been implicated in the transport of amphipathic anions. MRP1, MRP2, and MRP3 bear a close structural resemblance, confer resistance to a variety of natural products as well as methotrexate, and have the facility for transporting glutathione and glucuronate conjugates. MRP1 is a ubiquitously expressed efflux pump for the products of phase II of xenobiotic detoxification, while MRP2, whose hereditary deficiency results in Dubin–Johnson syndrome, functions to extrude organic anions into the bile. MRP3 is distinguished by its capacity to transport the monoanionic bile constituent glycocholate, and may function as a basolateral back-up system for the detoxification of hepatocytes when the usual canalicular route is impaired by cholestatic conditions. MRP4 and MRP5 resemble each other more closely than they resemble MRPs 1–3 and confer resistance to purine and nucleotide analogs which are either inherently anionic, as in the case of the anti-AIDS drug PMEA, or are phosphorylated and converted to anionic amphiphiles in the cell, as in the case of 6-MP. Given their capacity for transporting cyclic nucleotides, MRP4 and MRP5 have also been implicated in a broad range of cellular signaling processes. The drug resistance activity and physiological substrates of MRP6 are unknown. However, its hereditary deficiency results in pseudoxanthoma elasticum, a multisystem disorder affecting skin, eyes, and blood vessels. It is hoped that elucidation of the resistance profiles and physiological functions of the different members of the MRP subfamily will provide new insights into the molecular basis of clinical drug resistance and spawn new strategies for combating this phenomenon.