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J Biol Chem. 2012 Aug 24;287(35):29348-61. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.368159. Epub 2012 Jun 25.

A dominant negative heterozygous G87R mutation in the zinc transporter, ZnT-2 (SLC30A2), results in transient neonatal zinc deficiency.

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The Fred Wyszkowski Cancer Research Laboratory, Department of Biology, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000, Israel.


Zinc is an essential mineral, and infants are particularly vulnerable to zinc deficiency as they require large amounts of zinc for their normal growth and development. We have recently described the first loss-of-function mutation (H54R) in the zinc transporter ZnT-2 (SLC30A2) in mothers with infants harboring transient neonatal zinc deficiency (TNZD). Here we identified and characterized a novel heterozygous G87R ZnT-2 mutation in two unrelated Ashkenazi Jewish mothers with infants displaying TNZD. Transient transfection of G87R ZnT-2 resulted in endoplasmic reticulum-Golgi retention, whereas the WT transporter properly localized to intracellular secretory vesicles in HC11 and MCF-7 cells. Consequently, G87R ZnT-2 showed decreased stability compared with WT ZnT-2 as revealed by Western blot analysis. Three-dimensional homology modeling based on the crystal structure of YiiP, a close zinc transporter homologue from Escherichia coli, revealed that the basic arginine residue of the mutant G87R points toward the membrane lipid core, suggesting misfolding and possible loss-of-function. Indeed, functional assays including vesicular zinc accumulation, zinc secretion, and cytoplasmic zinc pool assessment revealed markedly impaired zinc transport in G87R ZnT-2 transfectants. Moreover, co-transfection experiments with both mutant and WT transporters revealed a dominant negative effect of G87R ZnT-2 over the WT ZnT-2; this was associated with mislocalization, decreased stability, and loss of zinc transport activity of the WT ZnT-2 due to homodimerization observed upon immunoprecipitation experiments. These findings establish that inactivating ZnT-2 mutations are an underlying basis of TNZD and provide the first evidence for the dominant inheritance of heterozygous ZnT-2 mutations via negative dominance due to homodimer formation.

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