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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Permanent activation of the human P-glycoprotein by covalent modification of a residue in the drug-binding site.

The human multidrug resistance P-glycoprotein (ABCB1) transports a broad range of structurally diverse compounds out of the cell. The transport cycle involves coupling of drug binding in the transmembrane domains with ATP hydrolysis. Compounds such as verapamil stimulate ATPase activity. We used cysteine-scanning mutagenesis of the transmembrane segments and reaction with the thiol-reactive substrate analog of verapamil, methanethiosulfonate (MTS)-verapamil, to test whether it caused permanent activation of ATP hydrolysis. Here we report that one mutant, I306C(TM5) showed increased ATPase activity (8-fold higher than untreated) when treated with MTS-verapamil and isolated by nickel-chelate chromatography. Drug substrates that either enhance (calcein acetoxymethyl ester, demecolcine, and vinblastine) or inhibit (cyclosporin A and trans-(E)-flupentixol) ATPase activity of Cys-less or untreated mutant I306C P-glycoprotein did not affect the activity of MTS-verapamil-treated mutant I306C. Addition of dithiothreitol released the covalently attached verapamil, and ATPase activity returned to basal levels. Pretreatment with substrates such as cyclosporin A, demecolcine, verapamil, vinblastine, or colchicine prevented activation of mutant I306C by MTS-verapamil. The results suggest that MTS-verapamil reacts with I306C in a common drug-binding site. Covalent modification of I306C affects the long range linkage between the drug-binding site and the distal ATP-binding sites. This results in the permanent activation of ATP hydrolysis in the absence of transport. Trapping mutant I306C in a permanently activated state indicates that Ile-306 may be part of the signal to switch on ATP hydrolysis when the drug-binding site is occupied.[1]


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