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Arsenic is a global environmental contaminant that threatens tens of millions people world-wide via food and water. Understanding how arsenic is accumulated in crop seeds is of critical importance. To date, membrane transport proteins catalyzing arsenic uptake by roots and translocation through xylem to shoots have been characterized. However, no transporters responsible for loading arsenic from xylem into phloem and further unloading into plant seeds have been identified. In this study we demonstrate that expressing the gene for either Arabidopsis thaliana inositol transporter AtINT2 or AtINT4 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae leads to increased arsenic accumulation and elevated sensitivity to arsenite [As(III)], and Xenopus laevis oocytes expressing AtINT2 import As(III). When A. thaliana plants with disruptions in either AtINT2 or AtINT4 were supplemented with As(III) through roots, there was a substantial decrease in both the arsenic content in the phloem extrude and in total arsenic accumulation in siliques and seeds. Similarly, when As(III) is fed through the leaves, there was a very large decrease in arsenic accumulation in siliques and seeds compared with wild-type plants. These results clearly demonstrate that inositol transporters are responsible for As(III) loading into phloem, the key step regulating arsenic accumulation in seeds.
Originally Published In
Duan, Gui-Lan; Hu, Ying; Schneider, Sabine; McDermott, Joseph; Chen, Jian; Sauer, Norbert; Rosen, Barry P.; Daus, Birgit; Liu, Zijuan; and Zhu, Yong-Guan, "Inositol transporters AtINT2 and AtINT4 regulate arsenic accumulation in Arabidopsis seeds" (2015). All Faculty. 111.
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