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The biotoxicity of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) has been a concern. However, the effects of PFOS on Tetrahymena thermophila, a unicellular model organism, remain unclear. This study aimed to investigate the toxicity and detoxification mechanism of PFOS in this protozoan. PFOS did not show prominent toxic effects on T. thermophila. Cell viability of T. thermophila can be concentration-dependently increased by PFOS. PFOS also increased the stability of cell membranes and the activity of lysosomes. However, PFOS inhibited efflux transporter activities. Most of the PFOS amount remained in the culture medium during the culture periods. Only a low amount of PFOS was absorbed by cells, where PFOS molecules were mainly combined with membrane proteins. The expressions of four membrane protein genes involved in transporting xenobiotics were analyzed by real time-PCR. The gene abcg25 was significantly up-regulated. The growth of abcg25 gene knockout protozoans under PFOS treatment was slightly inhibited. However, the amount of PFOS adsorbed by the knockout protozoans showed no significant difference from the Wild-type protozoans. We concluded that the ABCG25 protein might play a key role in preventing PFOS from entering the cell or being exported from the cells to protect T. thermophila against PFOS. However, ABCG25 was not the only membrane protein able to bind with PFOS. Copyright © 2023 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Mengmeng Wang, Bingyu Song, Tianyu Song, Kailun Sun, Jin He, Jiewei Deng, Ling Fang, Tiangang Luan, Li Lin. Efflux transport proteins of Tetrahymena thermophila play important roles in resistance to perfluorooctane sulfonate exposure. Journal of hazardous materials. 2023 Oct 05;459:132287

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PMID: 37591171

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