Hepatic metal ion transporter ZIP8 regulates manganese homeostasis and manganese-dependent enzyme activity

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Genetic variants at the solute carrier family 39 member 8 (SLC39A8) gene locus are associated with the regulation of whole-blood manganese (Mn) and multiple physiological traits. SLC39A8 encodes ZIP8, a divalent metal ion transporter best known for zinc transport. Here, we hypothesized that ZIP8 regulates Mn homeostasis and Mn-dependent enzymes to influence metabolism. We generated Slc39a8-inducible global-knockout (ZIP8-iKO) and liver-specific–knockout (ZIP8-LSKO) mice and observed markedly decreased Mn levels in multiple organs and whole blood of both mouse models. By contrast, liver-specific overexpression of human ZIP8 (adeno-associated virus–ZIP8 [AAV-ZIP8]) resulted in increased tissue and whole blood Mn levels. ZIP8 expression was localized to the hepatocyte canalicular membrane, and bile Mn levels were increased in ZIP8-LSKO and decreased in AAV-ZIP8 mice. ZIP8-LSKO mice also displayed decreased liver and kidney activity of the Mn-dependent enzyme arginase. Both ZIP8-iKO and ZIP8-LSKO mice had defective protein N-glycosylation, and humans homozygous for the minor allele at the lead SLC39A8 variant showed hypogalactosylation, consistent with decreased activity of another Mn-dependent enzyme, β-1,4-galactosyltransferase. In summary, hepatic ZIP8 reclaims Mn from bile and regulates whole-body Mn homeostasis, thereby modulating the activity of Mn-dependent enzymes. This work provides a mechanistic basis for the association of SLC39A8 with whole-blood Mn, potentially linking SLC39A8 variants with other physiological traits.

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