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In animals, silicon is an abundant and differentially distributed trace element that is believed to play important biological functions. One would thus expect silicon concentrations in body fluids to be regulated by silicon transporters at the surface of many cell types. Curiously, however, and even though they exist in plants and algae, no such transporters have been identified to date in vertebrates. Here, we show for the first time that the human aquaglyceroporins, i.e., AQP3, AQP7, AQP9 and AQP10 can act as silicon transporters in both Xenopus laevis oocytes and HEK-293 cells. In particular, heterologously expressed AQP7, AQP9 and AQP10 are all able to induce robust, saturable, phloretin-sensitive silicon transport activity in the range that was observed for low silicon rice 1 lsi1, a silicon transporter in plant. Furthermore, we show that the aquaglyceroporins appear as relevant silicon permeation pathways in both mice and humans based on 1 the kinetics of substrate transport, 2 their presence in tissues where silicon is presumed to play key roles and 3 their transcriptional responses to changes in dietary silicon. Taken together, our data provide new evidence that silicon is a potentially important biological element in animals and that its body distribution is regulated. They should open up original areas of investigations aimed at deciphering the true physiological role of silicon in vertebrates.



Author: Alexandre P. Garneau, Gabriel A. Carpentier, Andrée-Anne Marcoux, Rachelle Frenette-Cotton, Charles F. Simard, Wilfried Rémus-B

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/



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