Cryo-EM structures of human ZnT8 in both outward-and inward-facing conformations

Jing Xue, Tian Xie, Weizhong Zeng, Youxing Jiang, Xiao Chen Bai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


ZnT8 is a Zn2+/H+ antiporter that belongs to SLC30 family and plays an essential role in regulating Zn2+ accumulation in the insulin secretory granules of pancreatic β cells. Dysfunction of ZnT8 is associated with both type 1 and 2 diabetes. However, the Zn2+/H+ exchange mechanism of ZnT8 remains unclear due to the lack of high-resolution structures. Here, we report the cryo-EM structures of human ZnT8 (HsZnT8) in both outward-and inward-facing conformations. HsZnT8 forms a dimeric structure with four Zn2+ binding sites within each subunit: a highly conserved primary site in transmembrane domain (TMD) housing the Zn2+ substrate; an interfacial site between TMD and C-terminal domain (CTD) that modulates the Zn2+ transport activity of HsZnT8; and two adjacent sites buried in the cytosolic domain and chelated by conserved residues from CTD and the His-Cys-His (HCH) motif from the N-terminal segment of the neighboring subunit. A comparison of the outward-and inward-facing structures reveals that the TMD of each HsZnT8 subunit undergoes a large structural rearrangement, allowing for alternating access to the primary Zn2+ site during the transport cycle. Collectively, our studies provide the structural insights into the Zn2+/H+ exchange mechanism of HsZnT8.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere58823
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
StatePublished - Jul 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Cryo-EM structures of human ZnT8 in both outward-and inward-facing conformations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this