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ABCG2 is a high-capacity urate transporter and its genetic impairment increases serum uric acid levels in humans.

Nakayama A., Matsuo H., Takada T., Ichida K., Nakamura T., Ikebuchi Y., Ito K., Hosoya T., Kanai Y., Suzuki H., Shinomiya N.

The ATP-binding cassette, subfamily G, member 2 (ABCG2/BCRP) gene encodes a well-known transporter, which exports various substrates including nucleotide analogs such as 3'-azido-3'-deoxythymidine (AZT). ABCG2 is also located in a gout-susceptibility locus (MIM 138900) on chromosome 4q, and has recently been identified by genome-wide association studies to relate to serum uric acid (SUA) and gout. Becuase urate is structurally similar to nucleotide analogs, we hypothesized that ABCG2 might be a urate exporter. To demonstrate our hypothesis, transport assays were performed with membrane vesicles prepared from ABCG2-overexpressing cells. Transport of estrone-3-sulfate (ES), a typical substrate of ABCG2, is inhibited by urate as well as AZT and ES. ATP-dependent transport of urate was then detected in ABCG2-expressing vesicles but not in control vesicles. Kinetic analysis revealed that ABCG2 is a high-capacity urate transporter that maintained its function even under high-urate concentration. The calculated parameters of ABCG2-mediated transport of urate were a Km of 8.24 ± 1.44 mM and a Vmax of 6.96 ± 0.89 nmol/min per mg of protein. Moreover, the quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis performed in 739 Japanese individuals revealed that a dysfunctional variant of ABCG2 increased SUA as the number of minor alleles of the variant increased (p = 6.60 × 10(-5)). Because ABCG2 is expressed on the apical membrane in several tissues, including kidney, intestine, and liver, these findings indicate that ABCG2, a high-capacity urate exporter, has a physiological role of urate homeostasis in the human body through both renal and extrarenal urate excretion.

Nucleosides Nucleotides Nucleic Acids 30:1091-1097(2011) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]