Precision-engineered reporter cell lines reveal ABCG2 regulation in live lung cancer cells

Daniella Kovacsics, Anna Brózik, Borbála Tihanyi, Zsolt Matula, Adrienn Borsy, Nikolett Mészáros, Edit Szabó, Eszter Németh, Ábel Fóthi, Boglárka Zámbó, D. Szüts, György Várady, Tamás I. Orbán, A. Apáti, Balázs Sarkadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Expression of the ABCG2 multidrug transporter is a marker of cancer stem cells and a predictor of recurrent malignant disease. Understanding how human ABCG2 expression is modulated by pharmacotherapy is crucial in guiding therapeutic recommendations and may aid rational drug development. Genome edited reporter cells are useful in investigating gene regulation and visualizing protein activity in live cells but require precise targeting to preserve native regulatory regions. Here, we describe a fluorescent reporter assay that allows the noninvasive assessment of ABCG2 regulation in human lung adenocarcinoma cells. Using CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing coupled with homology-directed repair, we targeted an EGFP coding sequence to the translational start site of ABCG2, generating ABCG2 knock-out and in situ tagged ABCG2 reporter cells. Using the engineered cell lines, we show that ABCG2 is upregulated by a number of anti-cancer medications, HDAC inhibitors, hypoxia-mimicking agents and glucocorticoids, supporting a model in which ABCG2 is under the control of a general stress response. To our knowledge, this is the first description of a fluorescent reporter assay system designed to follow the endogenous regulation of a human ABC transporter in live cells. The information gained may guide therapy recommendations and aid rational drug design.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113865
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • ABCG2 regulation
  • CRISPR-Cas9
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Lung cancer
  • Reporter cell lines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology

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  • Cite this

    Kovacsics, D., Brózik, A., Tihanyi, B., Matula, Z., Borsy, A., Mészáros, N., Szabó, E., Németh, E., Fóthi, Á., Zámbó, B., Szüts, D., Várady, G., Orbán, T. I., Apáti, A., & Sarkadi, B. (2020). Precision-engineered reporter cell lines reveal ABCG2 regulation in live lung cancer cells. Biochemical Pharmacology, 175, [113865].