The multidrug-resistant gene (MDR1) encodes an energy-dependent drug efflux pump (P-glycoprotein) for many anti-cancer drugs. We have studied the intracellular distribution of rhodamine 123 (R123), daunorubicin (DN), and doxorubicin (DOX) in cells expressing a human MDR1 gene. The distribution of these fluorescent drugs was measured by laser scanning microscopy and confocal microscopy. We devised a new method for analysis of fluorescence line scan data to determine the intracellular distribution of fluorescent probes. This method and confocal microscopy showed that R123, DN, and DOX are localized to both plasma membrane and intracellular compartments in multidrug-resistant cells. When the cells are treated with verapamil, an inhibitor of the multidrug transporter, the amount of DOX, DN, and R123 associated with the cell rises. After inhibition, the relative distribution of DOX and DN between the cell surface and intracellular structures does not change dramatically. However, R123 tends to relocalize to intracellular sites from predominantly plasma membrane sites, indicating that this dye behaves differently than the anti-cancer drugs. These results show the subcellular distributions of R123, DN, and DOX in plasma membrane, cytoplasm, and intracellular membrane systems, but do not allow definitive distinctions among existing models of how P-glycoprotein affects the distribution of drugs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology