Issue Date: March 1, 2011
Mucus Proteins Make Hydrophobic Pollutants More Toxic
A slippery gel coats the surfaces of animals' respiratory, digestive, and reproductive tracts. Scientists thought that this mucus layer, made of glycoproteins called mucins, helped shield organisms from pathogens, particulates, and chemicals that they breathed or ingested. But a new study has revealed a possible chink in this armor: Mucins could actually help certain pollutants enter organisms' cells (Chem. Res. Toxicol., DOI:
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