(full paper is archived in the Miller Library)
Title: Algae and algal products as naturally occurring substrates for the multixenobiotic resistance transport mechanism in Mytilus californianus
Student Author(s): Girshick, Sarah
Faculty Advisor(s): Epel, David
Location: Final Papers Biology 175H
Date: June 1998
Abstract: The mussel Mytilus californianus is able to remove a wide array of xenobiotics (toxins) from its cells using an ATP-driven transport protein. This multixenobiotic resistance (MXR)system, similar to the multidrug transport protein found in human tumor cells, is thought to be a first line of defense against many natural and anthropogenic toxins. Three Monterey Bay seaweed species and three Monterey Bay phytoplankton species were found to contain likely substrates for the MXR protein. Extracts from all six species showed an increase in intracellular fluorescence using the rhodamine B accumulation, indicating that these contain substrates for the MXR protein. Mussels are filter feeders that remove seaweed particulates, phytoplankton, and their byproducts from the waters that pass over them. If the mussel diet contains compounds that are substrates for the MXR protein, this would provide insight into the pressures resulting in selection for this transporter, a mechanism that is a useful defense mechanism in today's polluted waters.