Orphan enzyme or patriarch of a new tribe: the arsenic resistance ATPase of bacterial plasmids

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Summary

The plasmid-determined arsenite and antimonite efflux ATPase of bacteria differs from other membrane transport ATPases, which are classified into several families (such as the F0F1-type H+-translocating ATP synthases, the related vacuolar H+-translocating ATPases, the P-type cation-translocating ATPases, and the superfamily which includes the periplasmic binding-protein-dependent systems in Gram-negative bacteria, the human multidrug resistance P-glycoprotein, and the cystic fibrosis transport regulator). The amino acid sequences of the components of the arsenic resistance system are not similar to known ATPase proteins. New findings with the arsenic resistance operons of bacterial plasmids suggest that instead of being an orphan the Ars system will now be the first recognized member of a new class of ATPases. Furthermore, fundamental questions of energy-coupling (ATP-driven or chemiosmotic) have recently been raised and the finding that the arsC gene product is a soluble enzyme that reduces arsenate to arsenite changes the previous picture of the functioning of this widespread bacterial system.

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