Oct 3, 2002

Metal bioavailability to phytoplankton--applicability of the biotic ligand model

Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Toxicology & Pharmacology : CBP
Peter G C CampbellBernard Vigneault


To elicit a biological response from a target organism and/or to accumulate within this organism, a metal must first interact with a cell membrane. For hydrophilic metal species, this interaction with the cell surface can be represented in terms of the formation of M-X-cell surface complexes, e.g. M(z+)+(-)X-cell<-->M-X-cell, where -X-cell is a cellular ligand present at the cell surface. According to the free-ion model, or its derivative the biotic ligand model (BLM), the biological response elicited by the metal will be proportional to [M-X-cell]. In this paper, using freshwater algae as our test species, we examine some of the key assumptions that underlie the BLM, namely that metal internalization is slow relative to the other steps involved in metal uptake (i.e. the M-X-cell complex is in equilibrium with metal species in solution), that internalization occurs via cation transport, and that internalization must occur for toxicity to appear. Recent experiments with freshwater algae are described, demonstrating anomalously high metal accumulation and/or toxicity in the presence of a common low molecular weight metabolite (alanine), or in the presence of an assimilable inorganic anion (thiosulfate). The possible implications ...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Cation Transport
Complex (molecular entity)
Cell Surface
Drug-Induced Liver Injury
Ligands Activity

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