How cellular Zn2+ signaling drives physiological functions

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Zinc is an essential micronutrient affecting many aspects of human health. Cellular Zn 2+ homeostasis is critical for cell function and survival. Zn 2+ , acting as a first or second messenger, triggers signaling pathways that mediate the physiological roles of Zn 2+ . Transient changes in Zn 2+ concentrations within the cell or in the extracellular region occur following its release from Zn 2+ binding metallothioneins, its transport across membranes by the ZnT or ZIP transporters, or release of vesicular Zn 2+ . These transients activate a distinct Zn 2+ sensing receptor, ZnR/GPR39, or modulate numerous proteins and signaling pathways. Importantly, Zn 2+ signaling regulates cellular physiological functions such as: proliferation, differentiation, ion transport and secretion. Indeed, novel therapeutic approaches aimed to maintain Zn 2+ homeostasis and signaling are evolving. This review focuses on recent findings describing roles of Zn 2+ and its transporters in regulating physiological or pathological processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-63
Number of pages11
JournalCell Calcium
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • Bone
  • Cancer
  • Epithelia
  • Immune system
  • Inflammation
  • Mammary gland
  • Neurological diseases
  • ZIP
  • Zinc
  • Zinc biology
  • Zinc signaling
  • Zinc transporters
  • Zn
  • ZnR/GPR39
  • ZnT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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