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Environ Sci Technol. 2008 Jul 15;42(14):5342-7.

XAS study of arsenic coordination in Euglena gracilis exposed to arsenite.

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Institut de Minéralogie et de Physique des Milieux Condensés, UMR 7590, CNRS, Universités Paris 6 et Paris 7, et IPGP., 140, rue de Lourmel. 75 015 Paris, France.


Among the few eukaryotes adapted to the extreme conditions prevailing in acid mine drainage, Euglenae are ubiquitous in these metal(loid)-impacted environments, where they can be exposed to As(III) concentrations up to a few hundreds of mg x L(-1). In order to evaluate their resistance to this toxic metalloid and to identify associated detoxification mechanisms, we investigated arsenic coordination in the model photosynthetic protozoan, Euglena gracilis, cultured at pH 3.2 and exposed to As(III) at concentrations ranging from 10 to 500 mg x L(-1). E. gracilis is shown to tolerate As(III) concentrations up to 200 mg * L(-1), without accumulating this metalloid. X-ray absorption spectroscopy at the As K-edge shows that, in the cells, arsenic mainly binds to sulfur ligands, likely in the form of arsenic-trisglutathione (As-(GS)3) or arsenic-phytochelatin (As-PC) complexes, and to a much lesser extent to carbon ligands, presumably in the form of methylated As(III)-compounds. The key role of the glutathione pathway in As(III) detoxification is confirmed by the lower growth rate of E. gracilis cultures exposed to arsenic, in the presence of buthionine sulfoximine, an inhibitor of glutathione synthesis. This study provides the first investigation at the molecular scale of intracellular arsenic speciation in E. gracilis and thus contributes to the understanding of arsenic detoxification mechanisms in a eukaryotic microorganism under extreme acid mine drainage conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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