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The human multidrug resistance P-glycoprotein (P-gp), a member of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) superfamily of transporters, is frequently responsible for the failure of chemotherapy by virtue of its ability to export hydrophobic cytotoxic drugs from cells. Elucidating the inter- and intramolecular interactions of this protein is critical to understanding its cellular function and mechanism of action. Toward this end, we have used both biochemical and genetic techniques to probe potential oligomerization interactions of P-gp. Differentially epitope-tagged P-gp molecules did not co-immunoprecipitate when co-expressed in HEK293 cells or when co-translated in vitro, demonstrating that P-gp is monomeric in both the presence and absence of detergents. The two cytoplasmic domains of P-gp did not interact with each other in vivo when co-expressed as gene fusions in yeast. In contrast, the homologous domains of the transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP), which reside on separate polypeptides and must form a heterodimeric transporter (TAP1/TAP2), did interact in this system, suggesting a role for these domains in TAP dimerization. Implications for understanding the subunit organization of ABC transporters are discussed.

Original publication




Journal article


J Biol Chem

Publication Date





36075 - 36078


ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1, Cell Line, DNA, Detergents, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel, Epitopes, Humans, Octoxynol, Precipitin Tests, Protein Binding, Protein Biosynthesis, Protein Structure, Tertiary, Two-Hybrid System Techniques