Publishing in the open access journal BMC Biology, a team of Scandinavian researchers has revealed a set of plant proteins that channel arsenic in and out of cells.
Arsenic is acutely toxic and a highly potent carcinogen, but is widespread in the earth's crust and easily taken up and accumulated in crops. Contaminated water is the main source of arsenic poisoning, followed by ingestion of arsenic-rich food, especially rice that has been irrigated with arsenic-contaminated water. According to the WHO, arsenic has been found approaching or above guideline limits in drinking water in Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Chile, China, Hungary, India, Mexico, Peru, Thailand, and the US.
Until now, scientists have been unable to identify which proteins are responsible for letting arsenite, the form of arsenic that damages cellular proteins, into plant cells. Now Gerd Bienert and his colleagues from the University of Copehangen, Denmark and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, are the first to show that a family of transporters, called nodulin26-like intrinsic protein (NIPs), can move arsenite across a plant cell membrane. NIPs are related to aquaglyceroporins found in microbes and mammalian cells and which have already been shown to function as arsenite channels in these other organisms.
Bienert's team put the plant genes coding for different NIP transporters into yeast cells in order to test the cells for arsenic sensitivity. The researchers found that the growth of yeast containing certain plant NIPs was suppressed when arsenite, one of the predominant forms of arsenic found in soil, was added to the mix. They showed that the arsenite was channelled by NIPs and accumulated inside the yeast cells. Further investigations showed that only a subgroup of NIPs had arsenite transport capabilities, and have now been identified as metalloid channels in plants.
More surprisingly, the researchers also found that when they added arsenate some yeast, cells actually grew better and arsenite was released out of the cells. “It appears that some NIPs don't just transport arsenite in one direction”, says Bienert. “They are bidirectional and, given the right conditions, can clear cells of toxic arsenite as well as accumulate it. This striking exit of the accumulated arsenite in cells could have an important role to play in the detoxification of plants, especially coupled with possibility of engineering a transporter that discriminates against arsenite uptake in the first place.”
Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch
22.05.2018 | Universität Basel
Flow of cerebrospinal fluid regulates neural stem cell division
22.05.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
22.05.2018 | Life Sciences
22.05.2018 | Earth Sciences
22.05.2018 | Trade Fair News