Fear-of-intimacy-mediated zinc transport controls the function of zinc-finger transcription factors involved in myogenesis

Marta Carrasco-Rando, Alexandra Atienza-Manuel, Paloma Martín, Richard Burke, Mar Ruiz-Gómez

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Zinc is a component of one-tenth of all human proteins. Its cellular concentration is tightly regulated because its dyshomeostasis has catastrophic health consequences. Two families of zinc transporters control zinc homeostasis in organisms, but there is little information about their specific developmental roles. We show that the ZIP transporter Fear-of-intimacy (Foi) is necessary for the formation of Drosophila muscles. In foi mutants, myoblasts segregate normally, but their specification is affected, leading to the formation of a misshapen muscle pattern and distorted midgut. The observed phenotypes could be ascribed to the inactivation of specific zincfinger transcription factors (ZFTFs), supporting the hypothesis that they are a consequence of intracellular depletion of zinc. Accordingly, foi phenotypes can be rescued by mesodermal expression of other ZIP members with similar subcellular localization. We propose that Foi acts mostly as a transporter to regulate zinc intracellular homeostasis, thereby impacting on the activity of ZFTFs that control specific developmental processes. Our results additionally suggest a possible explanation for the presence of large numbers of zinc transporters in organisms based on differences in ion transport specificity and/or degrees of activity among transporters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1948-1957
Number of pages10
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


  • Drosophila
  • Fear-of-intimacy
  • Mesoderm development
  • Zinc-finger transcription factors
  • ZIP transporters

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