Metabolism of arsenic in Drosophila melanogaster and the genotoxicity of dimethylarsinic acid in the drosophila wing spot test

Mostapha Rizki, Elk Kossatz, Antonia Velázquez, Amadeu Creus, Massimo Farina, Salvador Fortaner, Enrico Sabbioni, Ricardo Marcos

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30 Citations (Scopus)


Inorganic arsenic is nongenotoxic in the Drosophila melanogaster wing somotic mutation and recombination test (SMART). Recent evidence in mammalian systems indicates that methylated metabolites of arsenic are more genotoxic than inorganic arsenic. Thus, we hypothesized that inorganic arsenic is nongenotoxic in Drosophila because they are unable to biotransform arsenic to methylated forms. In the present study, we fed trivalent and pentavalent inorganic arsenic to Drosophila larvae and adults and measured the production of methylated derivatives. No biomethylated arsenic species were found in the organisms or in the growth medium, which suggests that Drosophilo are unable to biomethylate inorganic arsenic. Exposure of Drosophila to the methylated arsenic derivative dimethylarsinic acid (DMA(V)) resulted in incorporation of this orgonoarsenic compound without demethylation. In addition, we used the SMART wing spot assay, which measures loss of heterozygosity (LOH) resulting from gene mutation, chromosomol rearrangement, chromosome breakage, and chromosome loss, to evaluate the genotoxicity of DMA. DMA by itself induced significant increases in the frequency of total spots, small spots, and large single spots. These results are consistent with the important role of arsenic biomethylation as a determinant of the genotoxicity of arsenic compounds. The absence of biomethylation in Drosophila could explain the lock of genotoxicity for inorganic arsenic and the genotoxicity of methylated arsenic species in the SMART wing spot assay. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-168
JournalEnvironmental and Molecular Mutagenesis
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2006


  • Arsenic methylation
  • Dimethylarsinic acid
  • Drosophila wing spot test
  • Genotoxicity
  • Sodium arsenite


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