Physiological reviews

The divergence, actions, roles, and relatives of sodium-coupled bicarbonate transporters.

PMID 23589833


The mammalian Slc4 (Solute carrier 4) family of transporters is a functionally diverse group of 10 multi-spanning membrane proteins that includes three Cl-HCO3 exchangers (AE1-3), five Na(+)-coupled HCO3(-) transporters (NCBTs), and two other unusual members (AE4, BTR1). In this review, we mainly focus on the five mammalian NCBTs-NBCe1, NBCe2, NBCn1, NDCBE, and NBCn2. Each plays a specialized role in maintaining intracellular pH and, by contributing to the movement of HCO3(-) across epithelia, in maintaining whole-body pH and otherwise contributing to epithelial transport. Disruptions involving NCBT genes are linked to blindness, deafness, proximal renal tubular acidosis, mental retardation, and epilepsy. We also review AE1-3, AE4, and BTR1, addressing their relevance to the study of NCBTs. This review draws together recent advances in our understanding of the phylogenetic origins and physiological relevance of NCBTs and their progenitors. Underlying these advances is progress in such diverse disciplines as physiology, molecular biology, genetics, immunocytochemistry, proteomics, and structural biology. This review highlights the key similarities and differences between individual NCBTs and the genes that encode them and also clarifies the sometimes confusing NCBT nomenclature.