In the 21st century, emerging genomic technologies (i.e., bioinformatics, functional genomics, and pharmacogenomics) are shifting the paradigm of drug discovery research and improving the strategy of medical care for patients. In order to realize the personalized medicine, it is critically important to understand molecular mechanisms underlying inter-individual differences in the drug response, namely, pharmacological effect vs. side effect. Evidence is now accumulating to strongly suggest that drug transporters are one of the determinant factors governing the pharmacokinetic profile of drugs. Effort has been made to identify genetic variation in drug transporter genes. In particular, genetic variations of the human ABCB1 (P-glycoprotein/MDR1) gene have been most extensively studied. Hitherto more than fifty single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and insertion/deletion polymorphisms in the ABCB1 gene have been reported. However, at the present time, information is still limited with respect to the actual effect of those genetic polymorphisms on the function of ABCB1. In this context, we have undertaken functional analyses of ABCB1 polymorphisms. To quantify the impact of genetic polymorphisms on the substrate specificity of ABCB1, we have developed a high-speed screening system and a new structure–activity relationship (SAR) analysis method. This review addresses functional aspects of the genetic polymorphism of ABCB1 and provides the standard method to evaluate the effect of polymorphisms on the function.
2004 The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan