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Genetic polymorphism in MDR-1: a tool for examining allelic expression in normal cells, unselected and drug-selected cell lines, and human tumors.

Mickley L.A., Lee J.-S., Weng Z., Zhan Z., Alvarez M., Wilson W., Bates S.E., Fojo T.

By using RNase protection analysis, residues 2677 and 2995 of MDR-1 were identified as sites of genetic polymorphism. Through use of oligonucleotide hybridization, the genomic content and expression of individual MDR-1 alleles were examined in normal tissues, unselected and drug selected cell lines, and malignant lymphomas. In normal tissues, unselected cell lines, and untreated malignant lymphoma samples, expression of MDR-1 from both alleles was similar. In contrast, in drug selected cell lines, and in relapsed malignant lymphoma samples, expression of one allele was found in a large percentage of samples. To understand how expression of one allele occurs, two multidrug resistant sublines were isolated by exposing a Burkitt lymphoma cell line to increasing concentrations of vincristine. The resistant sublines expressed only one allele and had a hybrid MDR-1 gene composed of non-MDR-1 sequences proximal to MDR-1. Previous studies showing hybrid MDR-1 genes after rearrangements provided a potential explanation for activation and expression of one MDR-1 allele. We conclude that oligonucleotide hybridization can be used as a sensitive tool to examine relative allelic expression of MDR-1, and can identify abnormal expression from a single allele. Acquired drug resistance in vitro and in patients is often associated with expression of a single MDR-1 allele, and this can be a marker of a hybrid MDR-1 gene.

Blood 91:1749-1756(1998) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]