Zinc transporter 2 (SLC30A2) can suppress the vesicular zinc defect of adaptor protein 3-depleted fibroblasts by promoting zinc accumulation in lysosomes

Exp Cell Res. 2007 Apr 15;313(7):1473-83. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2007.02.006. Epub 2007 Feb 15.


Zinc accumulation in the lumen of cytoplasmic vesicles is one of the mechanisms by which cells can store significant amounts of this essential but potentially toxic biometal. Previous studies had demonstrated reduced vesicular zinc levels in fibroblasts from mutant mice deficient in adaptor protein 3 (AP-3), a complex involved in protein trafficking to late endosomes and lysosomes. We have observed a similar phenotype in the human fibroblastoid cell line, M1, upon small interference RNA-mediated AP-3 knockdown. A survey of the expression and localization of zinc transporter (ZnT) family members identified ZnT2, ZnT3, and ZnT4 as likely mediators of vesicular zinc accumulation in M1 cells. Expression of green fluorescence protein (GFP)-tagged ZnT2 and ZnT3 promoted accumulation of vesicular zinc as visualized using the indicator zinquin. Moreover, GFP-ZnT2 overexpression elicited a significant accumulation of zinc within mature lysosomes, which in untransfected M1 cells contained little or no chelatable zinc, and restored the zinc storage capability of AP-3-deficient cells. These results suggest that ZnT2 can facilitate vesicular zinc accumulation independently of AP-3 function, and validate the M1 fibroblastoid line as a human cell culture system amenable to the study of vesicular zinc regulation using techniques compatible with functional genomic approaches.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Protein Complex 3 / genetics
  • Adaptor Protein Complex 3 / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cation Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Cation Transport Proteins / physiology*
  • Cell Line
  • Chelating Agents / metabolism
  • Cytoplasmic Vesicles / metabolism*
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Lysosomes / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics
  • Transfection
  • Zinc / metabolism*


  • Adaptor Protein Complex 3
  • Cation Transport Proteins
  • Chelating Agents
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • SLC30A2 protein, human
  • SLC30A3 protein, human
  • Zinc