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Review
, 257, 130-136

ZIP9, a Novel Membrane Androgen Receptor and Zinc Transporter Protein

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Review

ZIP9, a Novel Membrane Androgen Receptor and Zinc Transporter Protein

Peter Thomas et al. Gen Comp Endocrinol.

Abstract

Rapid, androgen actions initiated at the cell surface have been reported in a variety of vertebrate cells, including several macrophage and prostate cancer cell lines that lack the nuclear androgen receptor. However, until recently the identity of the novel membrane androgen receptor (mAR) mediating these nonclassical androgen actions remained unknown. In 2014, a novel mAR unrelated to nuclear androgen receptors was identified in Atlantic croaker ovaries as the zinc transporter protein, ZIP9. ZIP9 is one of the 14 members of the ZIP (ZRT-and Irt-like Protein, SLC39A) family that regulates zinc homeostasis by transporting zinc across cell and organelle membranes into the cytoplasm. Zinc is a micronutrient critical for the maintenance of physiological and cellular processes, such as development, growth, protein assembly and activity, signaling, and apoptosis. Both croaker ZIP9 and human ZIP9 proteins have the binding characteristics of high affinity, specific mARs, and are coupled to G proteins. Testosterone induces apoptosis through ZIP9 in croaker granulosa cells and in human breast and prostate cancer cells by a unique mechanism involving increases in both second messengers and intracellular free zinc concentrations. ZIP9 also mediates testosterone regulation of tight junction formation in Sertoli cells and nonclassical testosterone signaling in spermatogenic cells. ZIP9 acts through several signal transduction pathways, a stimulatory G protein (Gs) in granulosa cells, an inhibitory one (Gi) in cancer cells, and a Gq11 one (Gnα11) in spermatogenic cells. ZIP9 has a very broad tissue distribution and is predicted to mediate numerous and diverse nonclassical androgen actions in vertebrates.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Croaker; Membrane androgen receptor; Nonclassical androgen signaling; ZIP9; Zinc transporter.

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