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Gene Review

zntA  -  zinc, cobalt and lead efflux system

Escherichia coli str. K-12 substr. MG1655

Synonyms: ECK3453, JW3434, yhhO
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Disease relevance of zntA


High impact information on zntA

  • Both the sensitive phenotype and transport defect of the mutant were complemented by expression of zntA on a plasmid [1].
  • This gene, termed zntA, was disrupted by insertion of a kanamycin gene through homologous recombination [1].
  • Heterologous expression of H. pylori cadA in an Escherichia coli zntA mutant resulted in an elevated resistance to Cd(II) and Zn(II) [3].
  • The zntA gene encodes a transmembrane protein that facilitates extrusion of Zn2+ and Co2+, whereas the zntR gene encodes a putative regulatory protein that controls the expression of the znt operon [2].
  • We have identified the promoter/operator region of the zntA gene of Escherichia coli and shown that Zn(II) is the primary inducer of expression of this Zn(II)/Cd(II) export gene [4].

Chemical compound and disease context of zntA

  • Expression of zntA from R. metallidurans in Escherichia coli predominantly mediated resistance to zinc, and expression of cadA predominantly mediated resistance to cadmium [5].

Biological context of zntA

  • The mutated gene, located between 75.5 and 76.2 min on the chromosome, is named zntA (for Zn(II) transport or tolerance) [6].
  • The Cd(II)- and Pb(II)-dependent transcriptional up-regulation of zntA is also mediated by ZntR [7].
  • In the plasmid-free R. metallidurans strain AE104, single gene deletions of cadA or zntA had only a moderate effect on cadmium and zinc resistance, but zinc resistance decreased 6-fold and cadmium resistance decreased 350-fold in double deletion strains [5].
  • A genetically modified Escherichia coli strain, containing the lacZ reporter gene fused to the heavy metal-responsive gene promoter zntA, was used to fabricate a mercury biosensor [8].

Associations of zntA with chemical compounds

  • Exposure of the zntA mutant to cobalt(II) and cadmium(II) also resulted in elevated levels of intracellular and cell surface-bound metal ions [6].
  • In contrast, expression of zntA was induced by both zinc and cadmium, and the induction pattern did not change in the presence or absence of CadA [5].

Other interactions of zntA

  • In the absence of the zntA gene, expression of cadA occurred at lower cadmium concentrations and zinc now served as an inducer [5].
  • AtHMA4 was able to restore growth at high [Zn] in the zntA mutant but not at high [Cu] in the copA mutant, suggesting a role in zinc transport [9].


  1. The zntA gene of Escherichia coli encodes a Zn(II)-translocating P-type ATPase. Rensing, C., Mitra, B., Rosen, B.P. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1997) [Pubmed]
  2. ZntR is an autoregulatory protein and negatively regulates the chromosomal zinc resistance operon znt of Staphylococcus aureus. Singh, V.K., Xiong, A., Usgaard, T.R., Chakrabarti, S., Deora, R., Misra, T.K., Jayaswal, R.K. Mol. Microbiol. (1999) [Pubmed]
  3. Helicobacter pylori cadA encodes an essential Cd(II)-Zn(II)-Co(II) resistance factor influencing urease activity. Herrmann, L., Schwan, D., Garner, R., Mobley, H.L., Haas, R., Schäfer, K.P., Melchers, K. Mol. Microbiol. (1999) [Pubmed]
  4. ZntR is a Zn(II)-responsive MerR-like transcriptional regulator of zntA in Escherichia coli. Brocklehurst, K.R., Hobman, J.L., Lawley, B., Blank, L., Marshall, S.J., Brown, N.L., Morby, A.P. Mol. Microbiol. (1999) [Pubmed]
  5. Interplay of the Czc system and two P-type ATPases in conferring metal resistance to Ralstonia metallidurans. Legatzki, A., Grass, G., Anton, A., Rensing, C., Nies, D.H. J. Bacteriol. (2003) [Pubmed]
  6. Zinc(II) tolerance in Escherichia coli K-12: evidence that the zntA gene (o732) encodes a cation transport ATPase. Beard, S.J., Hashim, R., Membrillo-Hernández, J., Hughes, M.N., Poole, R.K. Mol. Microbiol. (1997) [Pubmed]
  7. Cd(II), Pb(II) and Zn(II) ions regulate expression of the metal-transporting P-type ATPase ZntA in Escherichia coli. Binet, M.R., Poole, R.K. FEBS Lett. (2000) [Pubmed]
  8. Optical imaging fiber-based live bacterial cell array biosensor. Biran, I., Rissin, D.M., Ron, E.Z., Walt, D.R. Anal. Biochem. (2003) [Pubmed]
  9. Functional expression of AtHMA4, a P1B-type ATPase of the Zn/Co/Cd/Pb subclass. Mills, R.F., Krijger, G.C., Baccarini, P.J., Hall, J.L., Williams, L.E. Plant J. (2003) [Pubmed]
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