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      Arsenic and Antimony Transporters in Eukaryotes

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          Arsenic and antimony are toxic metalloids, naturally present in the environment and all organisms have developed pathways for their detoxification. The most effective metalloid tolerance systems in eukaryotes include downregulation of metalloid uptake, efflux out of the cell, and complexation with phytochelatin or glutathione followed by sequestration into the vacuole. Understanding of arsenic and antimony transport system is of high importance due to the increasing usage of arsenic-based drugs in the treatment of certain types of cancer and diseases caused by protozoan parasites as well as for the development of bio- and phytoremediation strategies for metalloid polluted areas. However, in contrast to prokaryotes, the knowledge about specific transporters of arsenic and antimony and the mechanisms of metalloid transport in eukaryotes has been very limited for a long time. Here, we review the recent advances in understanding of arsenic and antimony transport pathways in eukaryotes, including a dual role of aquaglyceroporins in uptake and efflux of metalloids, elucidation of arsenic transport mechanism by the yeast Acr3 transporter and its role in arsenic hyperaccumulation in ferns, identification of vacuolar transporters of arsenic-phytochelatin complexes in plants and forms of arsenic substrates recognized by mammalian ABC transporters.

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          A silicon transporter in rice.

          Silicon is beneficial to plant growth and helps plants to overcome abiotic and biotic stresses by preventing lodging (falling over) and increasing resistance to pests and diseases, as well as other stresses. Silicon is essential for high and sustainable production of rice, but the molecular mechanism responsible for the uptake of silicon is unknown. Here we describe the Low silicon rice 1 (Lsi1) gene, which controls silicon accumulation in rice, a typical silicon-accumulating plant. This gene belongs to the aquaporin family and is constitutively expressed in the roots. Lsi1 is localized on the plasma membrane of the distal side of both exodermis and endodermis cells, where casparian strips are located. Suppression of Lsi1 expression resulted in reduced silicon uptake. Furthermore, expression of Lsi1 in Xenopus oocytes showed transport activity for silicon only. The identification of a silicon transporter provides both an insight into the silicon uptake system in plants, and a new strategy for producing crops with high resistance to multiple stresses by genetic modification of the root's silicon uptake capacity.
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            Transporters of arsenite in rice and their role in arsenic accumulation in rice grain.

            Arsenic poisoning affects millions of people worldwide. Human arsenic intake from rice consumption can be substantial because rice is particularly efficient in assimilating arsenic from paddy soils, although the mechanism has not been elucidated. Here we report that two different types of transporters mediate transport of arsenite, the predominant form of arsenic in paddy soil, from the external medium to the xylem. Transporters belonging to the NIP subfamily of aquaporins in rice are permeable to arsenite but not to arsenate. Mutation in OsNIP2;1 (Lsi1, a silicon influx transporter) significantly decreases arsenite uptake. Furthermore, in the rice mutants defective in the silicon efflux transporter Lsi2, arsenite transport to the xylem and accumulation in shoots and grain decreased greatly. Mutation in Lsi2 had a much greater impact on arsenic accumulation in shoots and grain in field-grown rice than Lsi1. Arsenite transport in rice roots therefore shares the same highly efficient pathway as silicon, which explains why rice is efficient in arsenic accumulation. Our results provide insight into the uptake mechanism of arsenite in rice and strategies for reducing arsenic accumulation in grain for enhanced food safety.
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              The Arabidopsis major intrinsic protein NIP5;1 is essential for efficient boron uptake and plant development under boron limitation.

              Boron (B) is essential in plants but often present at low concentrations in the environment. To investigate how plants survive under conditions of B limitation, we conducted a transcriptome analysis and identified NIP5;1, a member of the major intrinsic protein family, as a gene upregulated in B-deficient roots of Arabidopsis thaliana. Promoter-beta-glucuronidase fusions indicated that NIP5;1 is strongly upregulated in the root elongation zone and the root hair zone under B limitation, and green fluorescent protein-tagged NIP5;1 proteins localized to the plasma membrane. Expression in Xenopus laevis oocytes demonstrated that NIP5;1 facilitated the transport of boric acid in addition to water. Importantly, two T-DNA insertion lines of NIP5;1 displayed lower boric acid uptake into roots, lower biomass production, and increased sensitivity of root and shoot development to B deficiency. These results identify NIP5;1 as a major plasma membrane boric acid channel crucial for the B uptake required for plant growth and development under B limitation.

                Author and article information

                Int J Mol Sci
                Int J Mol Sci
                International Journal of Molecular Sciences
                Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)
                15 March 2012
                : 13
                : 3
                : 3527-3548
                Department of Genetics and Cell Physiology, Institute of Plant Biology, University of Wroclaw, Kanonia 6/8, 50-328 Wroclaw, Poland; E-Mail: donata.wawrzycka@
                Author notes
                [* ]Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mails: ewa.maciaszczyk@ (E.M.-D.); robert.wysocki@ (R.W.); Tel.: +48-713-754-126 (R.W.); Fax: +48-713-754-118 (R.W.).
                © 2012 by the authors; licensee Molecular Diversity Preservation International, Basel, Switzerland.

                This article is an open-access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (



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