Zinc Transport in the Pancreatic β-Cell: Roles of ZnT (SLC30A) and ZiP (SLC39A) Family Members
Zinc is an essential component of many proteins and is crucial for several cellular functions such as cell mitosis, gene expression, and modulation of cellular receptors (Lichten and Cousins 2009). Failure to regulate zinc homeostasis thus leads to the development of a variety of pathologies, and mutations in several zinc transporter genes are linked to diseases in man. Hypozincemia is a condition where insufficient zinc is available for metabolic needs. It is usually the result of inadequate dietary intake of zinc but can also be associated with malabsorption. Diarrhea, acrodermatitis enteropathica, chronic liver and renal disease, diabetes and other chronic illnesses are all associated with zinc deficiency.
Increasing evidence suggests that changes in the expression or activity of specific zinc transporters might play a role in regulating the general zinc homeostasis. In this entry, the function of zinc transporters and...