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J Biol Chem. 2007 Apr 6;282(14):10423-31. Epub 2007 Jan 18.

Splice variants of the human zinc transporter ZnT5 (SLC30A5) are differentially localized and regulated by zinc through transcription and mRNA stability.

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  • 1Human Nutrition Research Centre, Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences, Medical School, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4NN, United Kingdom.


Maintenance of cellular zinc homeostasis includes regulating the expression of cell membrane zinc transporters. Knowledge about the mechanisms underlying changes in mammalian zinc transporter mRNA abundance is poor. We demonstrated that when expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells as N-terminal fusions to green fluorescent protein, two splice variants of ZnT5 adopt different subcellular locations (either in the Golgi apparatus or throughout the cell, including at the plasma membrane) indicating discrete roles in cellular zinc homeostasis. We demonstrated, using a beta-galactosidase reporter gene, that both splice variants were expressed from a promoter region that was transcriptionally repressed by increased extracellular zinc (150 microM compared with 3 mum; approximately 40%) and by extracellular zinc depletion, using the chelator N,N,N',N'-tetrakis(2-pyridylmethyl) ethylenediamine ( approximately 20%). We mapped the zinc-responsive element to the region -154 to +50, relative to the predicted start of transcription, and showed that a consensus metal response element sequence (-410 to -404) was not responsible for these effects. Changes in ZnT5 mRNA abundance in Caco-2 cells at different zinc concentrations were in parallel to the changes in promoter activity ( approximately 40% reduction at 150 microM zinc) but in the presence of actinomycin D, to prevent transcription, we observed a marked stabilization (1.7-2-fold accumulation over 24 h) of ZnT5 mRNA. We conclude that effects of zinc on ZnT5 transcription and mRNA stability act in opposition to balance mRNA abundance for cellular zinc homeostasis. To our knowledge, this is the first report that zinc affects the stability of a transcript with a direct role in cellular zinc homeostasis.

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