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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The SLC30 family of zinc transporters – a review of current understanding of their biological and pathophysiological roles

Authors
item Huang, Liping
item Tepaamorndech, Surapun -

Submitted to: European Journal of Applied Physiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 8, 2012
Publication Date: March 18, 2013
Citation: Huang, L., Tepaamorndech, S. 2013. The SLC30 family of zinc transporters – a review of current understanding of their biological and pathophysiological roles. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 34(2-3):548-560.

Interpretive Summary: Two families of zinc transporters are involved in keeping zinc balance in the body, the SLC30 (ZNT) and SLC39 (ZIP). The two zinc transporter family members function in opposite directions to maintain cellular zinc balance. ZNT proteins are required for the zinc balance in the cytoplasm of the cell (a gel-like substance residing within a cell that holds cell's internal structures) by exporting zinc out to the extracellular space or by sequestering cytoplasmic zinc into intracellular compartments when cellular zinc levels are elevated. In contrast, ZIP proteins are needed for upsurge of cytoplasmic zinc concentrations when cellular zinc is depleted. Since the cloning of the first zinc transporter (ZnT1) in 1995, there have been great advances in discovery of new members of zinc transporters, identification of gene expression patterns and regulation, recognition of protein distribution patterns in tissues and cells, and understanding of physiological and pathological functions in humans and animal models. Ten members of the ZnT (SLC30) family have been identified so far. Here we give a review of these advances. We also discuss the pathological implications of ZnTs and the future preventive or therapeutic application of ZnTs.

Technical Abstract: There are two families of zinc transporters involved in zinc homeostasis in the body, the SLC30 (ZnT, zinc transporter,) and SLC39 (ZIP, ZRT1 and IRT-like protein). The two zinc transporter family members function in opposite directions to maintain cellular zinc homeostasis. ZnT proteins are required for the cytoplasmic zinc balance by exporting zinc out to the extracellular space or by sequestrating cytoplasmic zinc into intracellular compartments when cellular zinc levels are elevated. In contrast, ZIP proteins are needed for upsurge of cytoplasmic zinc concentrations when cellular zinc is depleted. Since the cloning of the first zinc transporter (ZnT1) in 1995, there have been great advances in discovery of new members of zinc transporters, identification of gene expression patterns and regulations, recognition of protein distribution patterns in tissues and cells, and understanding of physiological and pathological functions in humans and animal models. Ten members of the ZnT (SLC30) family have been identified so far. Here we give a review of these advances. We also discuss the pathological implications of ZnTs and the future preventive or therapeutic application of ZnTs.

Last Modified: 10/20/2014
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