This gene encodes a member of the SLC39 family of solute-carrier genes, which show structural characteristics of zinc transporters. The encoded protein is glycosylated and found in the plasma membrane and mitochondria, and functions in the cellular import of zinc at the onset of inflammation. It is also thought to be the primary transporter of the toxic cation cadmium, which is found in cigarette smoke. Multiple transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene. Additional alternatively spliced transcript variants of this gene have been described, but their full-length nature is not known.