Zinc transporters ZIPT-2.4 and ZIPT-15 are required for normal C. elegans fecundity

Aaron C. Sue, Sarah M. Wignall, Teresa K Woodruff, Thomas V. O’Halloran*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The requirement of zinc for the development and maturation of germ lines and reproductive systems is deeply conserved across evolution. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans offers a tractable platform to study the complex system of distributing zinc to the germ line. We investigated several zinc importers to investigate how zinc transporters play a role in the reproductive system in nematodes, as well as establish a platform to study zinc transporter biology in germline and reproductive development. Methods: Previous high throughput transcriptional datasets as well as phylogenetic analysis identified several putative zinc transporters that have a function in reproduction in worms. Phenotypic analysis of CRISPR-generated knockouts and tags included characterization of offspring output, gonad development, and protein localization. Light and immunofluorescence microscopy allowed for visualization of physiological and molecular effects of zinc transporter mutations. Results: Disruption of two zinc transporters, ZIPT-2.4 and ZIPT-15, was shown to lead to defects in reproductive output. A mutation in zipt-2.4 has subtle effects on reproduction, while a mutation in zipt-15 has a clear impact on gonad and germline development that translates into a more pronounced defect in fecundity. Both transporters have germline expression, as well as additional expression in other cell types. Conclusions: Two ZIP-family zinc transporter orthologs of human ZIP6/10 and ZIP1/2/3 proteins are important for full reproductive fecundity and participate in development of the gonad. Notably, these zinc transporters are present in gut and reproductive tissues in addition to the germ line, consistent with a complex zinc trafficking network important for reproductive success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1261-1276
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Fecundity
  • Germline development
  • Germline gene expression
  • Zinc transporter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Genetics
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Developmental Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Zinc transporters ZIPT-2.4 and ZIPT-15 are required for normal C. elegans fecundity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this