Metals have been definitively linked to a number of disease states. Due to the widespread existence of metals in our environment from both natural and anthropogenic sources, understanding the mechanisms of their cellular detoxification is of upmost importance. Organisms have evolved cellular detoxification systems including glutathione, metallothioneins, pumps and transporters, and heat shock proteins to regulate intracellular metal levels. The model organism, Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), contains these systems and provides several advantages for deciphering the mechanisms of metal detoxification. This review provides a brief summary of contemporary literature on the various mechanisms involved in the cellular detoxification of metals, specifically, antimony, arsenic, cadmium, copper, manganese, mercury, and depleted uranium using the C. elegans model system for investigation and analysis.
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