by Ildikó Kasza, György Várady, Hajnalka Andrikovics, Magdalena Koszarska, Attila Tordai, George L. Scheffer, Adrienn Németh, Gergely Szakács, Balázs Sarkadi
We have developed a rapid, simple and reliable, antibody-based flow cytometry assay for the quantitative determination of membrane proteins in human erythrocytes. Our method reveals significant differences between the expression levels of the wild-type ABCG2 protein and the heterozygous Q141K polymorphic variant. Moreover, we find that nonsense mutations on one allele result in a 50% reduction in the erythrocyte expression of this protein. Since ABCG2 polymorphisms are known to modify essential pharmacokinetic parameters, uric acid metabolism and cancer drug resistance, a direct determination of the erythrocyte membrane ABCG2 protein expression may provide valuable information for assessing these conditions or for devising drug treatments. Our findings suggest that erythrocyte membrane protein levels may reflect genotype-dependent tissue expression patterns. Extension of this methodology to other disease-related or pharmacologically important membrane proteins may yield new protein biomarkers for personalized diagnostics.