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Reversal of ABCG2-mediated multidrug resistance by human cathelicidin and its analogues in cancer cells.

Peptides. 2012 Dec 27;

Authors: To KK, Ren SX, Wong CC, Cho CH


Multidrug resistance (MDR) of cancer cells to a wide spectrum of anticancer drugs is a major obstacle to successful chemotherapy. It is usually mediated by the overexpression of one of the three major ABC transporters actively pumping cytotoxic drugs out of the cells. There has been great interest in the search for inhibitors towards these transporters with an aim to circumvent resistance. This is usually achieved by screening from natural product library and the subsequent structural modifications. This study reported the reversal of ABCG2-mediated MDR in drug-selected resistant cancer cell lines by a class of host defense antimicrobial peptides, the human cathelicidin LL37 and its fragments. The effective human cathelicidin peptides (LL17-32 and LL13-37) were found to increase the accumulation of mitoxantrone in cancer cell lines with ABCG2 overexpression, thereby circumventing resistance to mitoxantrone. At the effective concentrations of the cathelicidin peptides, cell proliferation of the parental cells without elevated ABCG2 expression was not affected. Result from drug efflux and ATPase assays suggested that both LL17-32 and LL13-37 interact with ABCG2 and inhibit its transport activity in an uncompetitive manner. The peptides were also found to downregulate ABCG2 protein expression in the resistant cells, probably through a lysosomal degradation pathway. Our data suggest that the human cathelicidin may be further developed for sensitizing resistant cancer cells to chemotherapy.

PMID: 23274176 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]