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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Cysteine-rich intestinal protein and intestinal metallothionein: an inverse relationship as a conceptual model for zinc absorption in rats.

Dietary zinc may regulate zinc absorption in part via the inhibitory effect of intestinal metallothionein, but the mechanism is unknown. We recently showed that cysteine-rich intestinal protein (CRIP) binds zinc during transmucosal zinc transport, and that CRIP may function as an intracellular zinc carrier. The present experiments examine the interaction of CRIP and metallothionein with zinc to evaluate their potential roles in the mechanism of zinc absorption. Intestinal metallothionein concentrations were lower and zinc absorption rates from isolated intestinal loops were higher in rats fed a low zinc diet compared with those fed a high zinc diet or given parenteral zinc to induce metallothionein synthesis. Zinc status did not affect the apparent CRIP concentration, but markedly altered the distribution of 65Zn in intestinal cytosol as determined by gel filtration HPLC. More 65Zn was associated with CRIP (40 vs. 14%) and less was bound to metallothionein (4 vs. 52-59%) in rats fed the low zinc diet compared with rats of high zinc status. Luminal zinc concentration also affected the distribution of 65Zn in the cytosol. CRIP bound progressively less (from 42 to 25%) of the 65Zn taken up from the lumen as the luminal zinc concentration was increased from 5 to 300 mumol/L. Collectively these data suggest that CRIP is a saturable, intracellular zinc transport protein, and that metallothionein inhibits zinc absorption by binding zinc in competition with CRIP. A hypothetical model for the mechanism of transcellular zinc absorption involving metallothionein and CRIP is presented and discussed.[1]


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