Structural Biology

Transporting Zinc

Science's STKE  25 Sep 2007:
Vol. 2007, Issue 405, pp. tw346
DOI: 10.1126/stke.4052007tw346

The divalent zinc cation is found in multiple guises in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Lu and Fu (see the Perspective by Nies) present the 3.8 angstrom structure of YiiP, a bacterial membrane protein that imports Zn2+ by exchanging it for H+. The structure of YiiP is a Y-shaped homodimer, through which a presumptive pathway for Zn2+/H+ exchange can be discerned. YiiP is a member of the cation diffusion facilitator family of transport proteins. Another family member, ZnT-8, is expressed solely in pancreatic β cells and has recently been associated with risk for type 2 diabetes.

M. Lu, D. Fu, Structure of the zinc transporter YiiP. Science 317, 1746-1748 (2007). [Abstract] [Full Text]

D. H. Nies, How cells control zinc homeostasis. Science 317, 1695-1696 (2007). [Summary] [Full Text]