Hepatic ZIP14-mediated zinc transport is required for adaptation to endoplasmic reticulum stress [Applied Biological Sciences]
Extensive endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress damages the liver, causing apoptosis and steatosis despite the activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR). Restriction of zinc from cells can induce ER stress, indicating that zinc is essential to maintain normal ER function. However, a role for zinc during hepatic ER stress is largely unknown despite important roles in metabolic disorders, including obesity and nonalcoholic liver disease. We have explored a role for the metal transporter ZIP14 during pharmacologically and high-fat diet–induced ER stress using Zip14−/− (KO) mice, which exhibit impaired hepatic zinc uptake. Here, we report that ZIP14-mediated hepatic zinc uptake is critical for adaptation to ER stress, preventing sustained apoptosis and steatosis. Impaired hepatic zinc uptake in Zip14 KO mice during ER stress coincides with greater expression of proapoptotic proteins. ER stress-induced Zip14 KO mice show greater levels of hepatic steatosis due to higher expression of genes involved in de novo fatty acid synthesis, which are suppressed in ER stress-induced WT mice. During ER stress, the UPR-activated transcription factors ATF4 and ATF6α transcriptionally up-regulate Zip14 expression. We propose ZIP14 mediates zinc transport into hepatocytes to inhibit protein-tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B) activity, which acts to suppress apoptosis and steatosis associated with hepatic ER stress. Zip14 KO mice showed greater hepatic PTP1B activity during ER stress. These results show the importance of zinc trafficking and functional ZIP14 transporter activity for adaptation to ER stress associated with chronic metabolic disorders.
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