The 190 kDa multidrug resistance protein 1 (MRP1/ABCC1) is a founding member of a subfamily of the ATP binding cassette (ABC) superfamily of transport proteins and was originally identified on the basis of its elevated expression in multidrug resistant lung cancer cells. In addition to its ability to confer resistance in tumour cells, MRP1 is ubiquitously expressed in normal tissues and is a primary active transporter of GSH, glucuronate and sulfate conjugated and unconjugated organic anions of toxicological relevance. Substrates include lipid peroxidation products, herbicides, tobacco specific nitrosamines, mycotoxins, heavy metals, and natural product and antifolate anti-cancer agents. MRP1 also transports unmodified xenobiotics but often requires GSH to do so. Active efflux is generally an important aspect of cellular detoxification since it prevents the accumulation of conjugated and unconjugated compounds that have the potential to be directly toxic. The related transporters MRP2 and MRP3 have overlapping substrate specificities with MRP1 but different tissue distributions, and evidence that they also have chemoprotective functions are discussed. Finally, MRP homologues have been described in other species including yeast and nematodes. Those isolated from the vascular plant Arabidopsis thaliana (AtMRPs) decrease the cytoplasmic concentration of conjugated toxins through sequestration in vacuoles and are implicated in providing herbicide resistance to plants.