Endogenous, cholesterol-activated ATP-dependent transport in membrane vesicles from Spodoptera frugiperda cells

N Sjöstedt, Tiina Salminen, H Kidron

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Transport proteins of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) family are found in all kingdoms of life. In humans, several ABC efflux transporters play a role in drug disposition and excretion. Therefore, in vitro methods have been developed to characterize the substrate and inhibitor properties of drugs with respect to these transporters. In the vesicular transport assay, transport is studied using inverted membrane vesicles produced from transporter overexpressing cell lines of both mammalian and insect origin. Insect cell expression systems benefit from a higher expression compared to background, but are not as well characterized as their mammalian counterparts regarding endogenous transport. Therefore, the contribution of this transport in the assay might be underappreciated. In this study, endogenous transport in membrane vesicles from Spodoptera frugiperda-derived Sf9 cells was characterized using four typical substrates of human ABC transporters: 5(6)-carboxy-2,' 7'-dichlorofluorescein (CDCF), estradiol-17 beta-glucuronide, estrone sulfate and N-methyl-quinidine. Significant ATP-dependent transport was observed for three of the substrates with cholesterol-loading of the vesicles, which is sometimes used to improve the activity of human transporters expressed in Sf9 cells. The highest effect of cholesterol was on CDCF transport, and this transport in the cholesterol-loaded Sf9 vesicles was time and concentration dependent with a Km of 8.06 +/- 1.11 mu M. The observed CDCF transport was inhibited by known inhibitors of human ABCC transporters, but not by ABCB1 and ABCG2 inhibitors verapamil and Ko143, respectively. Two candidate genes for ABCC-type transporters in the S. frugiperda genome (SfABCC2 and SfABCC3) were identified based on sequence analysis as a hypothesis to explain the observed endogenous ABCC-type transport in Sf9 vesicles. Although further studies are needed to verify the role of SfABCC2 and SfABCC3 in Sf9 vesicles, the findings of this study highlight the need to carefully characterize background transport in Sf9 derived membrane vesicles to avoid false positive substrate findings for human ABC transporters studied with this overexpression system.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Sf9
  • CDCF
  • Estradiol glucuronide
  • Estrone sulfate
  • N-methyl quinidine
  • ABC transporter

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