Xenobiotic resistance in animals, plants, yeast, and bacteria is known to involve ATP binding cassette transporters that efflux invading toxins. We present data from yeast and a higher plant indicating that xenobiotic resistance also involves extracellular ATP degradation. Transgenic upregulation of ecto-ATPase alone confers resistance to organisms that have had no previous exposure to toxins. Similarly, cells that are deficient in extracellular ATPase activity are more sensitive to xenobiotics. On the basis of these and other supporting data, we hypothesize that the hydrolysis of extracellular ATP by phosphatases and ATPases may be necessary for the resistance conferred by P-glycoprotein.
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