Investigation of the Function and Regulation of ABC Transporters
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ATP-Binding-Cassette (ABC) transporters are primary active pumps that typically couple the binding and hydrolysis of ATP to the translocation of compounds across cellular membranes. Some, like ABCB1, ABCC1 and ABCC3, are polyspecific and can efflux clinically important drugs which may contribute to their therapeutic failure. In this study I have investigated (1) the mechanism of ABC transporter function, (2) studied the potential for regulation by ubiquitin ligases (both using ABCB1 as a model), and (3) tested the involvement of ABCC1 and ABCC3 in autocrine signalling in cancer. (1) In 1966, Jardetzky et. al  proposed that membrane pumps function by exposing their ligand-binding pocket alternately on different sides of the membrane. For ABC transporters, this coupling of the aspect and affinity of the ligand-binding cavities of the two transmembrane domains (TMDs) to the ATP catalytic cycle of the two nucleotide-binding domains (NBDs) is fundamental to the transport mechanism but is poorly understood at the molecular level. Structure data suggest signals are transduced through intracellular loops of the TMDs which slot into grooves on the top surface of the NBDs. At the base of these grooves is the Q-loop. By analysing the function of Q-loop mutants in combination with ligand binding cavity mutants I have discovered that the Q-loops are crucial to the transport cycle and that they are required to couple ligand binding to conformational changes at the NBDs necessary to drive the transporter into an inward closed state. 4 (2) ABCB1 is known to be a key component of chemical barrier separating the circulation from the cerebrospinal fluid. It has also been reported to transport β-amyloid across the lumenal membrane and into the circulation. Loss of ABCB1 from the barrier with age has therefore been suggested to play a role in Alzheimer’s Disease. The ubiquitin ligase Nedd4-1 has been implicated in the post-translational regulation of ABCB1 abundance in cells. Here, I report that ABCB1 can be ubiquitinated by Nedd4-1 in vitro and identify the residues modified (by mass spectrometry). (3) Lysophosphatidylinositol (LPI) is an autocrine metabolite produced by cancer cells that binds to the G-protein coupled transmembrane receptor GPR55 on the surface of cells. Stimulation of GPR55 activates a signalling cascade that induces proliferation and metastases of the cancer cells. How LPI is released from the cells was not known. In this study I show that ABCC1 and ABCC3, which are known to be expressed in ovarian and pancreatic cancers, can transport LPI into inside-out vesicles suggesting a new role for these “drug resistance” transporters in cancer biology.
AuthorsAkkaya, Begum Gokcen
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