The development of multidrug resistance (MDR) in malignant tumors is a major obstacle to the treatment of many cancers. MDR sublines have been derived from the J774.2 mouse macrophage-like cell line and utilized to characterize the phenotype at the biochemical and genetic level. Two isoforms of the drug resistance-associated P-glycoprotein are present and distinguishable both electrophoretically and pharmacologically. Genetic analysis has revealed the presence of a three-member gene family; expression of two of these genes, mdr1a and mdr1b, is associated with MDR whereas the expression of the third, mdr2, is not. Studies of these three genes have revealed similarities and differences in the manner in which they are regulated at the transcriptional level, and have suggested that post-transcriptional effects may also be important.
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