The importance of different arsenic forms in public health is well recognized owing to its distinct physical characteristics and toxicity. Chronic arsenic exposure has left a trail of disastrous health consequences around the world. However, the mechanisms behind the toxicity and the consequential diseases occurring after acute or chronic exposure to arsenic are not well understood. The toxicity of trivalent arsenic primarily occurs due to its interaction with cysteine residues in proteins. Arsenic binding to protein may alter its conformation and interaction with other functional proteins leading to tissue damage. Therefore, there has been much emphasis on studies of arsenic-bound proteins, for the purpose of understanding the origins of toxicity and to explore therapeutics. This book chapter illustrates the molecular mechanisms of arsenic toxicity with a special emphasis on arsenic binding to proteins and its consequences in alteration of tissue homeostasis.
Part of the book: Arsenic