A unique interaction between polyamine and multidrug resistance (P-glycoprotein) transporters in cultured Chinese hamster ovary cells transfected with mouse mdr-1 gene

Shewan M. Aziz, David R. Worthen, Mustafa Yatin, Kenneth B. Ain, Peter A. Crooks

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10 Scopus citations


We have shown that a functional link exists between the polyamine transporter and the multi-drug resistance (MDR) efflux transporter (P-glycoprotein, P-gp) in MDR-positive cancer cells. To further explore the nature of this interaction, we have examined the effect of reduced polyamine transport activity on cellular expression and activity of P-gp acquired by either selection or transfection. Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells and their polyamine transport-deficient mutants (CHOMGBG) were transfected with mouse mdr-1b gene. The activity of P-gp in these cells was quantified by measuring cellular accumulation of radiolabeled taxol and etoposide in the presence and absence of the P-gp modulator SDZ PSC-833 (valspodar; a semisynthetic undecapeptide derived from cyclosporin D). The mdr-1b-transfected CHO cells accumulated 2- to 3-fold less taxol and etoposide than the controls, an accumulation defect reversed by the potent MDR modulator PSC-833. Despite expression of P-gp on the surface of mdr-1b-transfected CHOMGBG cells, this classic MDR phenotype was not observed. Similarly, CHO cells, but not CHOMGBG cells, showed MDR activity after selection with doxorubicin as determined by reduced accumulation of radiolabeled taxol. Treatment with 50 μM of reduced polymer of spermine and glutaraldehyde, a selective blocker of the polyamine transport system, reduced MDR activity in mdr-1-transfected CHO cells and restored cellular accumulation of etoposide and taxol to control levels, effects not observed in mdr-1-transfected CHOMGBG cells. Notably, mdr-1-transfected CHO cells were 4- to 16-fold more resistant to the cytotoxic effects of the P-gp substrates doxorubicin, taxol, and etoposide than were the mdr-1-transfected CHOMGBG cells. CHO cells transfected with the mdr-1 gene exhibited a 23% reduction in cellular uptake of [14C]spermidine compared with untransfected controls; spermidine accumulation in CHOMGBG cells was no different than that in untransfected controls. These data suggest that the existence of a functioning polyamine transport system may be a requirement for MDR transporter activity, while the expression of functioning P-gp appears to reduce polyamine transporter activity. Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-187
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 15 1998

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank the Graduate School of the University of Kentucky and the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education for their fellowship support of D. R. W.


  • Multiple drug resistance
  • P-glycoprotein
  • Polyamine transport
  • Polymer of spermine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology


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