Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Your Environment. Your Health.

Publication Detail

Title: Nonsynonymous Polymorphisms in the Human AS3MT Arsenic Methylation Gene: Implications for Arsenic Toxicity.

Authors: Li, Jiaojiao; Packianathan, Charles; Rossman, Toby G; Rosen, Barry P

Published In Chem Res Toxicol, (2017 07 17)

Abstract: Arsenic methylation, the primary biotransformation in the human body, is catalyzed by the enzyme As(III) S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) methyltransferases (hAS3MT). This process is thought to be protective from acute high-level arsenic exposure. However, with long-term low-level exposure, hAS3MT produces intracellular methylarsenite (MAs(III)) and dimethylarsenite (DMAs(III)), which are considerably more toxic than inorganic As(III) and may contribute to arsenic-related diseases. Several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in putative regulatory elements of the hAS3MT gene have been shown to be protective. In contrast, three previously identified exonic SNPs (R173W, M287T, and T306I) may be deleterious. The goal of this study was to examine the effect of single amino acid substitutions in hAS3MT on the activity of the enzyme that might explain their contributions to adverse health effects of environmental arsenic. We identified five additional intragenic variants in hAS3MT (H51R, C61W, I136T, W203C, and R251H). We purified the eight polymorphic hAS3MT proteins and characterized their enzymatic properties. Each enzyme had low methylation activity through decreased affinity for substrate, lower overall rates of catalysis, or lower stability. We propose that amino acid substitutions in hAS3MT with decreased catalytic activity lead to detrimental responses to environmental arsenic and may increase the risk of arsenic-related diseases.

PubMed ID: 28537708 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: Amino Acid Substitution/drug effects; Arsenic/toxicity*; Enzyme Stability; Humans; Kinetics; Methylation/drug effects; Methyltransferases/chemistry; Methyltransferases/genetics*; Methyltransferases/metabolism; Models, Molecular; Polymorphism, Genetic*/drug effects; Temperature

to Top