The role of zinc transporters in cadmium and manganese transport in mammalian cells

Biochimie. 2009 Oct;91(10):1218-22. doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2009.04.002. Epub 2009 Apr 16.


To understand the mechanism of cadmium accumulation, it is important to know the precise mechanisms of transport systems for other metals. Recently, utilization of genomics and metallomics has clarified the involvement of specific metal transporter(s) in cadmium uptake. Studies with metallothionein (MT)-null cadmium-resistant cells have revealed the involvement of the manganese/zinc transport system in cadmium uptake. Genomic studies of strain differences in sensitivity to cadmium-induced testicular hemorrhage revealed that a zinc transporter, Zrt-, Irt-related protein (ZIP) 8 encoded by slc39a8, is responsible for the strain difference. Ectopic expression of ZIP8 in various cells enhanced the uptake of cadmium, manganese, and zinc. ZIP8-transgenic mice showed high expression of ZIP8 in the vasculature of testis and apical membrane of proximal tubules in kidney, and exhibited enhanced cadmium accumulation and toxicity when treated with cadmium. The expression of ZIP8 was found to be down-regulated in MT-null cadmium-resistant cells, in which the uptake rates of both cadmium and manganese were decreased. These data suggest that ZIP8 plays an important role in the uptake of both cadmium and manganese in mammalian cells. The role of ZIP14 in the uptake of cadmium and manganese is also discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport / physiology*
  • Cadmium / metabolism*
  • Cation Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Cation Transport Proteins / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Manganese / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Zinc / metabolism


  • Cation Transport Proteins
  • Cadmium
  • Manganese
  • Zinc