The zinc sensing receptor, ZnR/GPR39, in health and disease

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


A distinct G-protein coupled receptor that senses changes in extracellular Zn2+, ZnR/GPR39, was found in cells from tissues in which Zn2+ plays a physiological role. Most prominently, ZnR/GPR39 activity was described in prostate cancer, skin keratinocytes, and colon epithelial cells, where zinc is essential for cell growth, wound closure, and barrier formation. ZnR/GPR39 activity was also described in neurons that are postsynaptic to vesicular Zn2+ release. Activation of ZnR/GPR39 triggers Gαq-dependent signaling and subsequent cellular pathways associated with cell growth and survival. Furthermore, ZnR/GPR39 was shown to regulate the activity of ion transport mechanisms that are essential for the physiological function of epithelial and neuronal cells. Thus, ZnR/GPR39 provides a unique target for therapeutically modifying the actions of zinc in a specific and selective manner.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number439
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • Bone
  • Colon
  • Epithelium
  • Intestine
  • Keratinocyte
  • Neuron
  • Zinc
  • Zinc signaling
  • ZnR/GPR39

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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