Identification and characterization of the binding sites of P-glycoprotein for multidrug resistance-related drugs and modulators

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80 Scopus citations


A major problem in cancer treatment is the development of resistance to multiple chemotherapeutic agents in tumor cells. A major mechanism of this multidrug resistance (MDR) is overexpression of the MDR1 product P-glycoprotein, known to bind to and transport a wide variety of agents. This review concentrates on the progress made toward understanding the role of this protein in MDR, identifying and characterizing the drug binding sites of P-glycoprotein, and modulating MDR by P-glycoprotein-specific inhibitors. Since our initial discovery that P-glycoprotein binds to vinblastine photoaffinity analogs, many P-glycoprotein-specific photoaffinity analogs have been developed and used to identify the particular domains of P-glycoprotein capable of interacting with these analogs and other P-glycoprotein substrates. Furthermore, significant advances have been made in delineating the drug binding sites of this protein by studying mutant P-glycoprotein. Photoaffinity labeling experiments and the use of site-directed antibodies to several domains of this protein have allowed the localization of the general binding domains of some of the cytotoxic agents and MDR modulators on P-glycoprotein. Moreover, site-directed mutagenesis studies have identified the amino acids critical for the binding of some of these agents to P-glycoprotein. Furthermore, equilibrium binding assays using plasma membranes from MDR cells and radioactive drugs have aided our understanding of the modes of drug interactions with P-glycoprotein. Based on the available data, a topological model of P-glycoprotein and the approximate locations of its drug binding sites, as well as a proposed classification of multiple drug binding sites of this protein, is presented in this review.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalCurrent Medicinal Chemistry - Anti-Cancer Agents
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2004


  • Chemosensitizers
  • Multidrug resistance
  • P-glycoprotein
  • Photoaffinity labeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Cancer Research
  • Pharmacology

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