King's College London

Research portal

ZnT8 haploinsufficiency impacts MIN6 cell zinc content and β-cell phenotype via ZIP-ZnT8 coregulation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number5485
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2019


King's Authors


The zinc transporter ZnT8 (SLC30A8) localises to insulin secretory granules of β-cells where it facilitates zinc uptake for insulin crystallisation. ZnT8 abundance has been linked to β-cell survival and functional phenotype. However, the consequences of ZnT8 haploinsufficiency for β-cell zinc trafficking and function remain unclear. Since investigations in human populations have shown SLC30A8 truncating polymorphisms to decrease the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, we hypothesised that ZnT8 haploinsufficiency would improve β-cell function and maintain the endocrine phenotype. We used CRISPR/Cas9 technology to generate ZnT8 haploinsufficient mouse MIN6 β-cells and showed that ZnT8 haploinsufficiency is associated with downregulation of mRNAs for Slc39a8 and Slc39a14, which encode for the zinc importers, Zntand Irt-related proteins 8 (ZIP8) and 14 (ZIP14), and with lowered total cellular zinc content. ZnT8 haploinsufficiency disrupts expression of a distinct array of important β-cell markers, decreases cellular proliferation via mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase cascades and downregulates insulin gene expression. Thus, ZnT8 cooperates with zinc importers of the ZIP family to maintain β-cell zinc homeostasis. In contrast to the hypothesis, lowered ZnT8 expression reduces MIN6 cell survival by affecting zinc-dependent transcription factors that control the β-cell phenotype.

View graph of relations

© 2018 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454