PURPOSE: Breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP/ABCG2) has previously been identified with high expression levels in human lung. The subcellular localisation and functional activity of the transporter in lung epithelia, however, remains poorly investigated. The aim of this project was to study BCRP expression and activity in freshly isolated human alveolar epithelial type 2 (AT2) and type 1-like (AT1-like) cells in primary culture, and to compare these findings with data obtained from the NCI-H441 cell line.
METHODS: BCRP expression levels in AT2 and AT1-like cells and in different passages of NCI-H441 cells were determined using q-PCR and immunoblot. Transporter localisation was confirmed by confocal laser scanning microscopy. Efflux and transport studies using the BCRP substrate BODIPY FL prazosin and the inhibitor Ko143 were carried out to assess BCRP activity in the different cell models.
RESULTS: BCRP expression decreased during transdifferentiation from AT2 to AT1-like phenotype. Culturing NCI-H441 cells at an air-liquid interface or submersed did not change BCRP abundance, however, BCRP levels increased with passage number. BCRP was localised to the apical membrane and cytosol in NCI-H441 cells. In primary cells, the protein was found predominantly in the nucleus. Functional studies were consistent with expression data.
CONCLUSIONS: BCRP is differently expressed in AT2 and AT1-like cells with lower abundance and activity in the latter ones. Nuclear BCRP might play a transcriptional role in distal lung epithelium. In NCI-H441 cells, BCRP is expressed in apical cell membranes and its activity is consistent with the localisation pattern.
- ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily G, Member 2/analysis
- Alveolar Epithelial Cells/cytology
- Biological Transport
- Cell Line
- Cell Transdifferentiation
- Cells, Cultured
- Gene Expression
- Neoplasm Proteins/analysis
- Respiratory Mucosa/cytology