Probenecid-resistant J774 cell expression of enhanced organic anion transport by a mechanism distinct from multidrug resistance

C. Cao, T. H. Steinberg, H. C. Neu, D. Cohen, S. B. Horwitz, S. Hickman, S. C. Silverstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Macrophages possess organic anion transporters that carry membrane- impermeant fluorescent dyes, such as lucifer yellow (LY) and carboxyfluorescein, from the cytoplasm into endosomes and out of the cells. Probenecid, an organic anion transport inhibitor, blocks these processes. Prolonged incubation of J774 cells in medium containing 2.5 mM probenecid eventually kills most of these cells. To identify J774 variants that express increased organic anion transport activity, we selected probenecid-resistant (PBR) J774 cells by growing them in medium containing increasing concentrations of probenecid. When PBR and unselected J774 cells were loaded with LY by ATP4- permeabilization, the amount of LY accumulated by the PBR cells was about half that in the unselected cells. This difference was abolished by adding 10 mM probenecid to the medium in which the cells were loaded, suggesting that the diminished LY accumulation in PBR cells was due to enhanced LY secretion and that the PBR cells expressed increased organic anion transport activity. Direct comparison of LY efflux from J774 and PBR J774 cells showed a faster initial rate of secretion of LY from PBR J774 cells than from unselected J774 cells. To determine whether LY efflux is mediated by P-glycoprotein, we compared LY efflux in unselected J774 cells, PBR J774 cells, and multidrug-resistant J774 cells (J7.C1). LY efflux from J7.C1 cells was not sensitive to verapamil, which inhibits multidrug- resistance transporters, and reverses the multidrug-resistant phenotype of J7.C1 cells. The rates of LY efflux from unselected J774 and J7.C1 cells were virtually identical. In addition, Northern blot analysis showed much lower levels of mdr mRNA in PBR J774 cells than in J7.C1 cells. These observations indicate that organic anion transporter activity and multiple drug resistance are regulated independently of each other in J774 cells; they also suggest that organic anion transport in macrophages is mediated by protein(s) other than P-glycoprotein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-200
Number of pages8
JournalInfectious Agents and Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Macrophages
  • Multiple drug resistance
  • Organic anion transporters
  • Probenecid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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