We have identified the Dri 27 cDNA on the basis of its upregulated expression during rat intestinal development. It encodes a hydrophobic protein of 430 amino acids that shares significant homology with members of the mammalian zinc transporter family ZnT. The murine homologue of Dri 27 (named ZnT4) was recently associated with the mouse mutation "lethal milk." The primary sequence of Dri 27/ZnT4 displays features characteristic of polytopic membrane proteins. In this paper, we show that Dri 27/ZnT4 is localized in the membrane of intracellular vesicles, the majority of which concentrate in the basal cytoplasmic region of polarized enterocytes. A Dri 27/ZnT4 myc-tagged construct, transiently transfected in intestinal Caco-2 cells, partially colocalizes with the transferrin receptor and with the beta-subunits of the clathrin adaptor complexes AP-1 and AP-2 in a subpopulation of endosomal vesicles. By subcloning distinct portions of the protein in frame with glutathione-S-transferase, we also provide experimental evidence of their function as zinc-binding and protein-protein-interaction domains.