A novel arsenate reductase from the arsenic hyperaccumulating fern Pteris vittata

Danielle R. Ellis, Luke Gumaelius, Emily Indriolo, Ingrid J. Pickering, Jo Ann Banks, David E. Salt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

191 Citations (Scopus)


Pteris vittata sporophytes hyperaccumulate arsenic to 1% to 2% of their dry weight. Like the sporophyte, the gametophyte was found to reduce arsenate [ As( V)] to arsenite [ As(III)] and store arsenic as free As( III). Here, we report the isolation of an arsenate reductase gene ( PvACR2) from gametophytes that can suppress the arsenate sensitivity and arsenic hyperaccumulation phenotypes of yeast ( Saccharomyces cerevisiae) lacking the arsenate reductase gene ScACR2. Recombinant PvACR2 protein has in vitro arsenate reductase activity similar to ScACR2. While PvACR2 and ScACR2 have sequence similarities to the CDC25 protein tyrosine phosphatases, they lack phosphatase activity. In contrast, Arath; CDC25, an Arabidopsis ( Arabidopsis thaliana) homolog of PvACR2 was found to have both arsenate reductase and phosphatase activities. To our knowledge, PvACR2 is the first reported plant arsenate reductase that lacks phosphatase activity. CDC25 protein tyrosine phosphatases and arsenate reductases have a conserved HCX5R motif that defines the active site. PvACR2 is unique in that the arginine of this motif, previously shown to be essential for phosphatase and reductase activity, is replaced with a serine. Steady-state levels of PvACR2 expression in gametophytes were found to be similar in the absence and presence of arsenate, while total arsenate reductase activity in P. vittata gametophytes was found to be constitutive and unaffected by arsenate, consistent with other known metal hyperaccumulation mechanisms in plants. The unusual active site of PvACR2 and the arsenate reductase activities of cell-free extracts correlate with the ability of P. vittata to hyperaccumulate arsenite, suggesting that PvACR2 may play an important role in this process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1544-1554
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2006


  • specificity tyrosine-phosphatase
  • saccharomyces-cerevisiae
  • arabidopsis-thaliana
  • thlaspi-caerulescens
  • metal hyperaccumulation
  • escherichia-coli
  • holcus-lanatus
  • genes
  • tolerance
  • protein


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