The ZIP3 zinc transporter is localized to mossy fiber terminals and is required for kainate-induced degeneration of CA3 neurons

Milos Bogdanovic, Hila Asraf, Noa Gottesman, Israel Sekler, Elias Aizenman, Michal Hershfinkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Tight regulation of neuronal Zn2+ is critical for physiological function. Multiple Zn2+ transporters are expressed in the brain, yet their spatial distribution and distinct roles are largely unknown. Here, we show developmental regulation of the expression of Zn2+ transporters ZIP1 and ZIP3 in mouse hippocampal neurons, corresponding to previously described increase in neuronal vesicular Zn2+ during the first postnatal month. Rates of Zn2+ uptake in cultured mouse hippocampal neurons, monitored using FluoZin-3 fluorescence, were higher in mature neurons, which express higher levels of ZIP1 and ZIP3. Zn2+ uptake was attenuated by approximately 50% following silencing of either ZIP1 or ZIP3. Expression of both ZIP1 and ZIP3 was ubiquitous on somas and most neuronal processes in the cultured neurons. In contrast, we observed distinct localization of the transporters in adult mouse hippocampal brain, with ZIP1 predominantly expressed in the CA3 stratum pyramidale, and ZIP3 primarily localized to the stratum lucidum. Consistent with their localization, silencing of ZIP1 expression in vivo reduced Zn2+ uptake in CA3 neurons while ZIP3 silencing reduced Zn2+ influx into dentate gyrus granule cells in acute hippocampal slices. Strikingly, in vivo silencing of ZIP3, but not ZIP1, protected CA3 neurons from neurodegeneration following kainate-induced seizures. Our results indicate that distinct Zn2+ transporters control Zn2+ accumulation and toxicity in different neuronal populations in the hippocampus and suggest that selective regulation of Zn2+ transporters can prevent seizure induced brain damage.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENTZinc plays a major role in neuronal function and its dysregulation is associated with neurodegeneration. Multiple zinc transporters are expressed in neurons, yet little is known on their distinct roles. Here, we show that the plasma membrane ZIP1 and ZIP3 zinc transporters are expressed on distinct neuronal populations in the CA3 region of the hippocampus. We show that ZIP1 mediates zinc influx into postsynaptic cells, while ZIP3 is responsible for zinc re-uptake from this synapse into dentate granule cells. We further show that silencing of ZIP3, but not ZIP1, can rescue the postsynaptic cells from kainate-induced neurodegeneration. This suggests that neuronal zinc toxicity and degeneration can be modulated by regulation of specific zinc transporters function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2824-2834
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number13
StatePublished - 30 Mar 2022


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