A zinc-sensing receptor triggers the release of intracellular Ca2+ and regulates ion transport

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Changes in extracellular zinc concentration participate in modulating fundamental cellular processes such as proliferation, secretion, and ion transport in a mechanism that is not well understood. Here, we show that a micromolar concentration of extracellular zinc triggers a massive release of calcium from thapsigargin-sensitive intracellular pools in the colonocytic cell line HT29. Calcium release was blocked by a phospholipase-C inhibitor, indicating that formation of inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate is required for zinc-dependent calcium release. Zinc influx was not observed, indicating that extracellular zinc triggered the release. The Cai2+ release was zinc specific and could not be triggered by other heavy metals. Furthermore, zinc failed to activate the Ca2+-sensing receptor heterologously expressed in HEK293 cells. The zinc-induced Cai2+ rise stimulated the activity of the Na+/H+ exchanger in HT29 cells. Our results indicate that a previously uncharacterized extracellular, G protein-coupled, Zn2+-sensing receptor is functional in colonocytes. Because Cai2+ rise is known to regulate key cellular and signal-transduction processes, the zinc-sensing receptor may provide the missing link between extracellular zinc concentration changes and the regulation of cellular processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11749-11754
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number20
StatePublished - 25 Sep 2001


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