Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 194, Issue 2, pp 360–367 | Cite as

Transcriptional Regulation of Zinc Transporters in Human Osteogenic Sarcoma (Saos-2) Cells to Zinc Supplementation and Zinc Depletion

  • Kiran Alluri
  • Krishna Pillay Madhavan NairEmail author
  • Sandeep Kumar Kotturu
  • Sudip GhoshEmail author


Bone is a passive storage organ for zinc, which contains about 30% of the total body zinc. However, during extreme zinc deficiency, only a small fraction of zinc is released in contrast to other tissues where zinc is released like monocytes or conserved, e.g., skeletal muscle. Zinc plays an important role in bone tissue remodeling. Zinc homeostasis is regulated by several zinc transporters (ZnTs) and importers (ZIPs), but their expression dynamics concerning zinc status of bone cells is not well understood. The study aimed to elucidate the effects of zinc supplementation and depletion on the transcript levels of various zinc transporters. Saos-2, a human osteoblastic cell line, was used as representative bone tissue. Zinc sulfate was used for simulating sufficient zinc status whereas TPEN, a zinc chelator, was used to simulate zinc-deficient state. Expression of various transcripts was measured by qRT-PCR. Subcellular localization of ZnT-1 was carried out by immunofluorescent microscopy, and Western Blotting was carried out to measure the expression of ZnT-1 at the protein level. Among the export transporters the transcript levels of MT, ZnT-1 showed higher levels in zinc sufficient and lower levels in TPEN treated cells. Expression of ZnT-4 was decreased under both the conditions. ZIP-6 and ZIP-13 were downregulated in zinc sufficiency, and ZIP-10 upregulated probably to prevent an excess zinc accumulation in bone cells. Further, ZnT-1 was found to be localized in the nuclear region of SaOS-2 cells. ZnT-1, ZnT-4, ZIP-6, ZIP-11, ZIP-10, and ZIP-13 along with MT may be responsible for maintaining bone zinc homeostasis.


Zinc transporters ZnT-1 localization Saos-2 cells 



We are thankful to Dr. Bala Krishna, scientist ‘F’, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, India, for helping us in the statistical analysis.


Mr. Kiran Alluri received financial assistance from CSIR-New Delhi, India, as JRF and SRF (09/484/(0050)/2012-EMR-1). This research was funded by intramural grants to KPMN and partly by a grant to SG (5/9/1137/2014-NUT) from Indian Council of Medical Research, India.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (PDF 162 kb)
12011_2019_1807_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (139 kb)
ESM 2 (PDF 138 kb)
12011_2019_1807_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (503 kb)
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Molecular Biology DivisionICMR-National Institute of Nutrition, Indian Council of Medical ResearchHyderabadIndia
  2. 2.Micronutrient Division, Micronutrient Research GroupICMR-National Institute of Nutrition, Indian Council of Medical ResearchHyderabadIndia

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