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FEBS Lett. 2001 Oct 26;507(2):137-41.

Zinc regulates the function and expression of the iron transporters DMT1 and IREG1 in human intestinal Caco-2 cells.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Royal Free and University College Medical School, London, UK.


Trace metals influence the absorption of each other from the diet and it has been suggested that the divalent metal transporter (DMT1) represents a common uptake pathway for these important micronutrients. However, compelling evidence from our laboratory suggests that DMT1 is predominantly an iron transporter, with lower affinity for other metals. Several studies have shown that increasing dietary iron downregulates DMT1. Interestingly, our current data indicate that zinc upregulates DMT1 protein and mRNA expression and also pH-dependent iron uptake. Transepithelial flux of iron was also increased and was associated with a rise in IREG1 mRNA expression.

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