We have isolated a human cDNA encoding a protein, designated DNPI, that shows 82% amino acid identity and 92% similarity to the human brain-specific Na(+)-dependent inorganic phosphate (Na(+)/P(i)) cotransporter (BNPI), which is localized exclusively to neuron-rich regions. Expression of DNPI mRNA in Xenopus oocytes resulted in a significant increase in Na(+)-dependent P(i) transport, indicating that DNPI is a novel Na(+)/P(i) cotransporter. Northern blot analysis shows that DNPI mRNA is expressed predominantly in brain, where the highest levels are observed in medulla, substantia nigra, subthalamic nucleus, and thalamus, all of which express BNPI mRNA at low levels. In contrast, DNPI mRNA is expressed at low levels in cerebellum and hippocampus, where BNPI mRNA is expressed at high levels. No hybridizing signal for DNPI mRNA is observed in the glia-rich region of corpus callosum. In other regions examined, both mRNAs are moderately or highly expressed. These results indicate that BNPI and DNPI, which coordinate Na(+)-dependent P(i) transport in the neuron-rich regions of the brain, may form a new class within the Na(+)/P(i) cotransporter family.