The emerging role of zinc transporters in cellular homeostasis and cancer

Elizabeth Bafaro, Yuting Liu, Yan Xu, Robert E. Dempski

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Zinc is an essential micronutrient that plays a role in the structural or enzymatic functions of many cellular proteins. Cellular zinc homeostasis involves the opposing action of two families of metal transporters: the ZnT (SLC30) family that functions to reduce cytoplasmic zinc concentrations and the ZIP (SLC39) family that functions to increase cytoplasmic zinc concentrations. Fluctuations in intracellular zinc levels mediated by these transporter families affect signaling pathways involved in normal cell development, growth, differentiation and death. Consequently, changes in zinc transporter localization and function resulting in zinc dyshomeostasis have pathophysiological effects. Zinc dyshomeostasis has been implicated in the progression of cancer. Here we review recent progress toward understanding the structural basis for zinc transport by ZnT and ZIP family proteins, as well as highlight the roles of zinc as a signaling molecule in physiological conditions and in various cancers. As zinc is emerging as an important signaling molecule in the development and progression of cancer, the ZnT and ZIP transporters that regulate cellular zinc homeostasis are promising candidates for targeted cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere17029
JournalSignal Transduction and Targeted Therapy
Volume2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

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Zinc
Homeostasis
Neoplasms
zinc-binding protein
Micronutrients
Growth and Development
Proteins
Metals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Genetics

Cite this

The emerging role of zinc transporters in cellular homeostasis and cancer. / Bafaro, Elizabeth; Liu, Yuting; Xu, Yan; Dempski, Robert E.

In: Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy, Vol. 2, e17029, 01.01.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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