We describe here the identification and characterization of a novel member of the family of K(+)-dependent Na(+)/Ca(2+) exchangers, NCKX3 (gene SLC24A3). Human NCKX3 encodes a protein of 644 amino acids that displayed a high level of sequence identity to the other family members, rod NCKX1 and cone/neuronal NCKX2, in the hydrophobic regions surrounding the "alpha -repeat" sequences thought to form the ion-binding pocket for transport. Outside of these regions NCKX3 showed no significant identity to other known proteins. As anticipated from this sequence similarity, NCKX3 displayed K(+)-dependent Na(+)/Ca(2+) exchanger activity when assayed in heterologous expression systems, using digital imaging of fura-2 fluorescence, electrophysiology, or radioactive (45)Ca(2+) uptake. The N-terminal region of NCKX3, although not essential for expression, increased functional activity at least 10-fold and may represent a cleavable signal sequence. NCKX3 transcripts were most abundant in brain, with highest levels found in selected thalamic nuclei, in hippocampal CA1 neurons, and in layer IV of the cerebral cortex. Many other tissues also expressed NCKX3 at lower levels, especially aorta, uterus, and intestine, which are rich in smooth muscle. The discovery of NCKX3 thus expands the K(+)-dependent Na(+)/Ca(2+) exchanger family and suggests this class of transporter has a more widespread role in cellular Ca(2+) handling than previously appreciated.