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Natural differences in expression and retroviral transduction techniques were used to test the hypothesis that MDR1 P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and MRP1 (multidrug resistance-related protein) contribute to xenobiotic handling by placental trophoblast. RT-PCR and Western blotting in placenta, primary cytotrophoblast cell cultures, and BeWo, JAr, and JEG choriocarcinoma cell lines showed that MRP1 was ubiquitously expressed, whereas MDR1 was absent or minimally expressed in BeWo and JEG cell lines. In syncytiotrophoblast, P-gp was localized predominantly to the microvillous, maternal facing plasma membrane, and MRP1 to the basal, fetal facing plasma membrane. Functional studies showed that cyclosporin A-sensitive accumulation of [3H]vinblastine by cells containing both transport proteins was significantly different from those expressing predominantly MRP1. Retroviral gene transfer of MDR1 to BeWo cells confirmed that this difference was due to the relative expression of MDR1. Therefore, both P-gp and MRP1 contribute to xenobiotic handling by the trophoblast. Localization of P-gp to the microvillous membrane suggests an essential role in preventing xenobiotic accumulation by the syncytiotrophoblast and, therefore, in protecting the fetus.


Diane E Atkinson, Susan L Greenwood, Colin P Sibley, Jocelyn D Glazier, Leslie J Fairbairn. Role of MDR1 and MRP1 in trophoblast cells, elucidated using retroviral gene transfer. American journal of physiology. Cell physiology. 2003 Sep;285(3):C584-91

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PMID: 12724138

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