Biochemical Mechanisms of Adaptation
to Cadmium and Copper Ions in the Mussel Mytilus trossulus

V. P. Chelomin, N. N. Belcheva, and M. V. Zakhartsev

Pacific Institute of Oceanology, Far East Division, Russian Academy of Sciences,
Baltiiskaya ul. 43, Vladivostok, 690041 Russia

Received February 26, 1997

Abstract—General biochemical mechanisms for heavy metals adaptation are shown using the example of the
marine mollusk Mytilus trossulus. Mussels were adapted to low concentrations of copper and cadmium under
laboratory conditions. Cu and Cd preexposure led to enhanced tolerance to mercury toxicity (Hg bioassay) and
alterations in the cellular biochemical apparatus of the gills and the hepatopancreas. In addition to metallothio-
neins, which are the central component of induced tolerance, the glutathione system is involved in all proposed
schemes of metal detoxification. A comparison of the kinetics of metal accumulation by the tissues of adapted
and unadapted mussels allows us to suggest that the adaptation mechanism uses metal transport from the gills
to the hepatopancreas.

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