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Arsenic; GATA-1; and Hematotoxicity


<p>Project SummaryArsenic exposure is associated with various acute and chronic health effects. The World Health Organization(WHO) estimates that over 200 million people worldwide are chronically exposed to arsenic in drinking water atconcentrations above the WHO safety standard. Emerging evidence from epidemiological studies in multiplecountries indicate a strong link between environmental arsenic exposure and increased incidence of anemia,suggesting that arsenic is a human hematotoxicant. However, little is known about how arsenic causeshematotoxicity and how this adverse effect of arsenic can be prevented. Research from our labs demonstratesthat: i) Analysis of blood collected from a group of people in Bangladesh exposed to a wide range of arsenic intheir drinking water revealed positive effects of arsenic exposure on hematological indicators of anemia; ii)Hematology analysis of blood from mice treated 60 days via drinking water with environmentally relevantconcentrations of sodium arsenite (As+3) showed significant alterations in measures of hemoglobin as well asimpaired bone marrow erythropoiesis; iii) More intriguingly, our preliminary study revealed that GATA-1, a keytranscription factor that mediates both the development and function of red blood cells, is a sensitive moleculartarget for arsenic interaction. We found that As+3 could replace zinc in the zinc finger moiety of GATA-1 at lownon-cytotoxic concentrations, resulting in loss of zinc and protein function. Based on our compelling experimentalevidence, we hypothesize that exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of arsenic causes anemiathrough inhibiting GATA-1 function by disrupting its zinc finger domain. In Aim 1, we will utilize a variety of cellbiology and biochemical methods to definitively examine the impact of As+3 exposure on the process of red bloodcell production. These findings will establish what specific steps in the lineage of RBC production that arsenicexposure affects, and how arsenic interrupts these steps. Aim 2 will investigate As+3 interaction with GATA-1 andthe functional consequences of this interaction. The experiments are designed to reveal the specific mechanismsby which As+3 interacts with GATA-1 to disrupt its function in cells. In Aim 3, we will validate GATA-1 as a sensitivetarget in vivo, and test the hypothesis that zinc supplement can prevent arsenic-induced hematotoxicity. Theoutcomes from our vigorously designed studies are expected to provide novel insights in our understanding ofmechanisms underlying increased incidents of anemia in populations exposed to arsenic, thus filling a criticalgap in our knowledge of arsenic-induced anemia. Importantly, our study will provide a solid foundation for a clearmechanistic understanding of how supplemental zinc reduces arsenic-induced anemia, and provide the proof ofprinciple for the potential of zinc supplements to prevent arsenic-induced anemia. If validated, supplemental zinccould represent a low cost and easily implemented strategy to prevent anima in arsenic exposed populations.</p>

Liu, Ke Jian
University of New Mexico
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