Zinc transport in mammalian cells

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The importance of zinc in cell physiology is related mainly to its intracellular involvement in enzyme catalysis, protein structure, protein- protein interactions, and protein-oligonucleotide interactions. The mechanisms by which Zn2+ enters mammalian cells have been studied in a variety of cell systems. A review of this literature indicates that, in all cells, Zn2+ interacts with extracellular binding sites, which are likely to include binding sites involved in the subsequent translocation of this ion to the cell interior. Inside the cell, Zn2+ binds to cytosolic and organelle binding sites or is taken up by intracellular organelles. Despite these general conclusions, the mechanisms of the different transport and binding steps are, for most cell types, only partially solved. This review critically discusses the literature on mammalian Zn2+ transport and outlines some critical points for future research of the mechanisms of transport of this ion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)C401-C410
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number2 39-2
StatePublished - Feb 1996


  • trace elements
  • zinc complexes
  • zinc distribution compartments


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