Nucleoside transporters: molecular biology and implications for therapeutic development

Mol Med Today. 1999 May;5(5):216-24. doi: 10.1016/S1357-4310(99)01459-8.


The uptake of nucleosides (or nucleobases) is essential for nucleic acid synthesis in many human cell types and in parasitic organisms that cannot synthesize nucleotides de novo. The transporters responsible are also the route of entry for many cytotoxic nucleoside analogues used in cancer and viral chemotherapy. Moreover, by regulating adenosine concentrations in the vicinity of its cell-surface receptors, nucleoside transporters profoundly affect neurotransmission, vascular tone and other processes. The recent molecular characterization of two families of human nucleoside transporters has provided new insights into the mechanisms of natural nucleoside and drug uptake and into future developments of improved therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Carrier Proteins / chemistry
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Carrier Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / chemistry
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Nucleoside Transport Proteins
  • Nucleosides / chemistry
  • Nucleosides / therapeutic use*
  • Protozoan Infections / drug therapy


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Nucleoside Transport Proteins
  • Nucleosides