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Arsenic is a non-essential, environmentally ubiquitous toxic metalloid. In response to this pervasive environmental challenge, organisms evolved mechanisms to confer resistance to arsenicals. Inorganic pentavalent arsenate is taken into most cells adventitiously by phosphate uptake systems. Similarly, inorganic trivalent arsenite is taken into most cells adventitiously, primarily via aquaglyceroporins or sugar permeases. The most common strategy for tolerance to both inorganic and organic arsenicals is by efflux that extrude them from the cytosol. These efflux transporters span across kingdoms and belong to various families such as aquaglyceroporins, major facilitator superfamily (MFS) transporters, ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters and potentially novel, yet to be discovered families. This review will outline the properties and substrates of known arsenic transport systems, the current knowledge gaps in the field, and aims to provide insight into the importance of arsenic transport in the context of the global arsenic biogeocycle and human health.


Originally published in Environmental International.



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