Abstract Multixenobiotic resistance (MXR) of aquatic invertebrates has so far been associated with cellular efflux activity mediated by P-glycoprotein (ABCB1) and MRP (multidrug resistance protein; ABCC) type ABC (ATP binding cassette) transporters. Expression and activity of an abcb1/Abcb1 homolog has been shown in eggs and larvae of the zebra mussel Dreissena polymorpha. Here we report identification of a partial cDNA sequence of an abcc/Abcc homolog from zebra mussel that is transcribed and active as a cellular efflux transporter in embryos and gill tissue of adult mussels. Transcript expression levels were comparatively low in eggs and sharply increased after fertilization, then maintaining high expression levels in 1 and 2 dpf (days post fertilization) larvae. MK571, a known inhibitor of mammalian ABCC transporters, blocks efflux of calcein-am in larvae and gill tissue as indicated by elevated calcein fluorescence; this indicates the presence of active Abcc protein in cells of the larvae and gills. Dacthal and mercury used as chemical stressors both induced expression of abcb1 and abcc mRNAs in larvae; accordingly, assays with calcein-am and ABCB1 inhibitor reversin 205 and ABCC inhibitor MK571 indicated enhanced Abcb1 and Abcc efflux activities. Responses to chemicals were different in gills, where abcb1 transcript abundances were enhanced in dacthal and mercury treatments, whereas abcc mRNA was only increased with mercury. Abcb1 and Abcc activities did not in all cases show increases that were according to respective mRNA levels; thus, Abcc activity was significantly higher with dacthal, whereas Abcb1 activity was unchanged with mercury. Our data indicate that abcb1/Abcb1 and abcc/Abcc transporters are expressed and active in larvae and adult stages of zebra mussel. Expression of both genes is induced as cellular stress response, but regulation appears to differ in larvae and tissue of adult stages.