Human cells can become multidrug resistant (MDR) by an increase in the activity of the MDR1 P-glycoprotein or by other, as yet unknown mechanisms, referred to as non-P-glycoprotein mediated MDR (non-Pgp MDR). S. P. C. Cole et al. [Science (Washington DC), 258: 1650–1654, 1992] recently reported that in two cell lines non-Pgp MDR was associated with the overexpression of a new putative membrane transporter gene, MRP. Using an RNase protection assay we have analyzed the expression of MRP in non-Pgp MDR sublines of the human lung cancer cell lines SW-1573 (non-small cell lung cancer) and GLC4 (small cell lung cancer). In all of ten SW-1573 derived lines examined the MRP mRNA level was equal to that in the parental line, whereas MRP was 25-fold overexpressed in a resistant subline of GLC4. We conclude that overexpression of MRP cannot account for all forms of non-Pgp MDR.
This work was supported by a collaborative project of the Netherlands Cancer Institute and the Laboratory of Biochemistry, University of Amsterdam (G. J. R. Z.), and by a grant from the Dutch Cancer Society (NKI 91-18 to F. B. and P. B.).