Local and systemic effects of targeted zinc redistribution in Drosophila neuronal and gastrointestinal tissues

Christopher Dean Richards, Richard Edward Burke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


While the effects of systemic zinc ion deficiency and toxicity on animal health are well documented, the impacts of localized, tissue-specific disturbances in zinc homeostasis are less well understood. Previously we have identified zinc dyshomeostasis scenarios caused by the targeted manipulation of zinc transport genes in the Drosophila eye. Over expression of the uptake transporter dZIP42C.1 (dZIP1) combined with knockdown of the efflux transporter dZNT63C (dZNT1) causes a zinc toxicity phenotype, as does over expression of dZIP71B or dZNT86D. However, all three genotypes result in different morphologies, responses to dietary zinc, and genetic interactions with the remaining zinc transport genes, indicating that each causes a different redistribution of zinc within affected cells. dZNT86DeGFP over expression generates a completely different phenotype, interpreted as a Golgi zinc deficiency. Here we assess the effect of each of these transgenes when targeted to a range of Drosophila tissues. We find that dZIP71B is a particularly potent zinc uptake gene, causing early developmental lethality when targeted to multiple different tissue types. dZNT86D over expression (Golgi-only zinc toxicity) is less deleterious, but causes highly penetrant adult cuticle, sensory bristle and wing expansion defects. The dZIP42C.1 over expression, dZNT63C knockdown combination causes only moderate adult cuticle defects and sensitivity to dietary zinc when expressed in the midgut. The Golgi-only zinc deficiency caused by dZNT86DeGFP expression results in mild cuticle defects, highly penetrant wing expansion defects and developmental lethality when targeted to the central nervous system and, uniquely, the fat bodies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)967-974
Number of pages8
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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

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