The concentrative nucleoside transporter family, SLC28

Pflugers Arch. 2004 Feb;447(5):728-34. doi: 10.1007/s00424-003-1107-y. Epub 2003 Jul 11.


The SLC28 family consists of three subtypes of sodium-dependent, concentrative nucleoside transporters, CNT1, CNT2, and CNT3 (SLC28A1, SLC28A2, and SLC28A3, respectively), that transport both naturally occurring nucleosides and synthetic nucleoside analogs used in the treatment of various diseases. These subtypes differ in their substrate specificities: CNT1 is pyrimidine-nucleoside preferring, CNT2 is purine-nucleoside preferring, and CNT3 transports both pyrimidine and purine nucleosides. Recent studies have identified key amino acid residues that are determinants of pyrimidine and purine specificity of CNT1 and CNT2. The tissue distributions of the CNTs vary: CNT1 is localized primarily in epithelia, whereas CNT2 and CNT3 have more generalized distributions. Nucleoside transporters in the SLC28 and SLC29 families play critical roles in nucleoside salvage pathways where they mediate the first step of nucleotide biosynthesis. In addition, these transporters work in concert to terminate adenosine signaling. SLC28 family members are crucial determinants of response to a variety of anticancer and antiviral nucleoside analogs, as they modulate the entry of these analogs into target tissues. Further, this family is involved in the absorption and disposition of many nucleoside analogs. Several CNT single nucleoside polymorphisms (SNPs) have been identified, but have yet to be characterized.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Humans
  • Multigene Family / physiology
  • Nucleoside Transport Proteins / chemistry
  • Nucleoside Transport Proteins / physiology*
  • Nucleosides / metabolism*
  • Sodium / metabolism*


  • Nucleoside Transport Proteins
  • Nucleosides
  • Sodium