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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Mar 19;93(6):2454-8.

The yeast ZRT1 gene encodes the zinc transporter protein of a high-affinity uptake system induced by zinc limitation.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Medicine, University of Minnesota, Duluth 55812, USA.


The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has two separate systems for zinc uptake. One system has high affinity for substrate and is induced in zinc-deficient cells. The second system has lower affinity and is not highly regulated by zinc status. The ZRT1 gene encodes the transporter for the high-affinity system, called Zrt1p. The predicted amino acid sequence of Zrt1p is similar to that of Irt1p, a probable Fe(II) transporter from Arabidopsis thaliana. Like Irt1p, Zrt1p contains eight potential transmembrane domains and a possible metal-binding domain. Consistent with the proposed role of ZRT1 in zinc uptake, overexpressing this gene increased high-affinity uptake activity, whereas disrupting it eliminated that activity and resulted in poor growth of the mutant in zinc-limited media. Furthermore, ZRT1 mRNA levels and uptake activity were closely correlated, as was zinc-limited induction of a ZRT1-lacZ fusion. These results suggest that ZRT1 is regulated at the transcriptional level by the intracellular concentration of zinc. ZRT1 is an additional member of a growing family of metal transport proteins.

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