The mechanism of Na(+)-dependent transport of L-carnitine via the carnitine/organic cation transporter OCTN2 and the subcellular localization of OCTN2 in kidney were studied. Using plasma membrane vesicles prepared from HEK293 cells that were stably transfected with human OCTN2, transport of L-carnitine via human OCTN2 was characterized. Uptake of L-[(3)H]carnitine by the OCTN2-expressing membrane vesicles was significantly increased in the presence of an inwardly directed Na(+) gradient, with an overshoot, while such transient uphill transport was not observed in membrane vesicles from cells that were mock transfected with expression vector pcDNA3 alone. The uptake of L-[(3)H]carnitine was specifically dependent on Na(+) and the osmolarity effect showed that Na(+) significantly influenced the transport rather than the binding. Changes of inorganic anions in the extravesicular medium and of membrane potential by valinomycin altered the initial uptake activity of L-carnitine by OCTN2. In addition, the fluxes of L-carnitine and Na(+) were coupled with 1:1 stoichiometry. Accordingly, it was clarified that Na(+) is coupled with flux of L-carnitine and the flux is an electrogenic process. Furthermore, OCTN2 was localized on the apical membrane of renal tubular epithelial cells. These results clarified that OCTN2 is important for the concentrative reabsorption of L-carnitine after glomerular filtration in the kidney.