Arsenite transport in plants
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- Ali, W., Isayenkov, S.V., Zhao, F. et al. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. (2009) 66: 2329. doi:10.1007/s00018-009-0021-7
Arsenic is a metalloid which is toxic to living organisms. Natural occurrence of arsenic and human activities have led to widespread contamination in many areas of the world, exposing a large section of the human population to potential arsenic poisoning. Arsenic intake can occur through consumption of contaminated crops and it is therefore important to understand the mechanisms of transport, metabolism and tolerance that plants display in response to arsenic. Plants are mainly exposed to the inorganic forms of arsenic, arsenate and arsenite. Recently, significant progress has been made in the identification and characterisation of proteins responsible for movement of arsenite into and within plants. Aquaporins of the NIP (nodulin26-like intrinsic protein) subfamily were shown to transport arsenite in planta and in heterologous systems. In this review, we will evaluate the implications of these new findings and assess how this may help in developing safer and more tolerant crops.