PLoS One 2017 17;12(2):e0172371. Epub 2017 Feb 17.
Hirszfeld Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Polish Academy of Sciences, Wroclaw, Poland.
Active cellular transporters of harmful agents-multidrug resistance (mdr) proteins-are present in tumor, stem and endothelial cells, among others. While mdr proteins are broadly studied in tumor cells, their role in non-tumor cells and the significance of their action not connected with removal of harmful xenobiotics is less extensively documented. Proper assessment of mdr proteins expression is difficult. Mdr mRNA presence is most often evaluated but that does not necessarily correlate with the protein level. The protein expression itself is difficult to determine; usually cells with mdr overexpression are studied, not cells under physiological conditions, in which a low expression level of mdr protein is often insufficient for detection in vitro. Various methods are used to identify mdr mRNA and protein expression, together with functional tests demonstrating their biological drug transporting activities. Data comparing different methods of investigating expression of mdr mRNAs and their corresponding proteins are still scarce. In this article we present the results of a study concerning mdr mRNA and protein expression. Our goal was to search for the best method to investigate the expression level and functional activity of five selected mdr proteins-MDR1, BCRP, MRP1, MRP4 and MRP5-in established in vitro cell lines of human endothelial cells (ECs) and their progenitors. Endothelial cells demonstrated mdr presence at the mRNA level, which was not always confirmed at the protein level or in functional tests. Therefore, several different assays had to be applied for evaluation of mdr proteins expression and functions in endothelial cells. Among them functional tests seemed to be the most conclusive, although not very specific.