A fly's eye view of zinc homeostasis: novel insights into the genetic control of zinc metabolism from Drosophila

Christopher D. Richards, Richard Burke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The core zinc transport machinery is well conserved between invertebrates and mammals, with the vinegar fly Drosophila melanogaster having clear homologues of all major groups of mammalian ZIP and ZNT transport genes. Functional characterization of several of the fly genes has revealed functional conservation between related fly and mammalian zinc transporters in some but not all cases, indicating that Drosophila is a useful model for examining mammalian zinc metabolism. Furthermore, Drosophila research, sometimes quite serendipitously, has provided novel insights into the function of zinc transporters and into zinc-related pathologies, which are highlighted here. Finally, the future research potential of the fly in nutrient metabolism is explored, with reference to emerging experimental technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-149
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • Drosophila
  • Ion transport
  • Zinc homeostasis
  • ZIP
  • ZNT

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