Synthesis and characterization of a BODIPY conjugate of the BCR-ABL kinase inhibitor Tasigna (nilotinib): evidence for transport of Tasigna and its fluorescent derivative by ABC drug transporters.

Paradigms and Technologies
Medicinal Chemistry


Tasigna (Nilotinib) is a BCR-ABL kinase inhibitor recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration, which is indicated for the treatment of drug-resistant chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). The efflux of tyrosine kinase inhibitors by ATP-binding cassette (ABC) drug transporters, which actively pump these drugs out of cells utilizing ATP as an energy source, has been linked to the development of drug resistance in CML patients. We report here the synthesis and characterization of a fluorescent derivative of Tasigna to study its interaction with two major ABC transporters, P-glycoprotein (Pgp) and ABCG2, in in vitro and ex vivo assays. A fluorescent derivative of Tasigna, BODIPY FL Tasigna, inhibited the BCR-ABL kinase activity in K562 cells and was also effluxed by Pgp- and ABCG2-expressing cells in both cultured cells and rat brain capillaries expressing Pgp and ABCG2. In addition, [(3)H]-Tasigna was found to be transported by Pgp-expressing polarized LLC-PK1 cells in a transepithelial transport assay. Consistent with these results, both Tasigna and BODIPY FL Tasigna were less effective at inhibiting the phosphorylation of Crkl (a substrate of BCR-ABL kinase) in Pgp- and ABCG2-expressing K562 cells due to their reduced intracellular concentration. Taken together, these data provide evidence that BODIPY FL Tasigna is transported by Pgp and ABCG2, and Tasigna is transported by Pgp. Further, we propose that BODIPY FL Tasigna can potentially be used as a probe for functional analysis of Pgp and ABCG2 in cancer cells and in other preclinical studies.


Shukla, Suneet; Skoumbourdis, Amanda P; Walsh, Martin J; Hartz, Anika M S; Fung, King Leung; Wu, Chung-Pu; Gottesman, Michael M; Bauer, Björn; Thomas, Craig; Ambudkar, Suresh V;


  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters/ genetics
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters/ metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents/ chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents/ metabolism
  • Boron Compounds/ chemistry
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • LLC-PK1 Cells
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Neoplasm Proteins/ genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins/ metabolism
  • P-Glycoprotein/ genetics
  • P-Glycoprotein/ metabolism
  • Pyrimidines/ chemistry
  • Pyrimidines/ metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Swine

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