Exposure of cells to arsenicals activates multiple stress pathways resulting in the induction of specific genes whose identity and role in the adaptation to arsenical-induced cellular stress are poorly understood. We report here the identification of a novel gene encoding an arsenite-inducible, cysteine- and histidine-rich RNA-associated protein, AIRAP, that is conserved among mammals, Drosophila and C elegans. Immunochemistry and cell fractionation experiments indicate that, when induced, AIRAP is present in both the nucleus and the cytoplasm, and cross-linking experiments indicate that it associates with RNA in vivo. The expression of a C elegans homologue of AIRAP, aip-1, is also induced by exposure to arsenite, and expression of an aip-1::gfp transgene is most pronounced in hypodermal cells. RNA-mediated interference (RNAi) of aip-1 lowers the resistance of nematodes to arsenite yet does not appear to affect viability under standard growth conditions. These experiments suggest a role for AIRAP/AIP-1 in protecting cells from the toxic effects of arsenite.