Genetic variants of human organic anion transporter 4 demonstrate altered transport of endogenous substrates

Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2010 Oct;299(4):F767-75. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00312.2010. Epub 2010 Jul 28.


Apical reabsorption from the urine has been shown to be important for such processes as the maintenance of critical metabolites in the blood and the excretion of nephrotoxic compounds. The solute carrier (SLC) transporter OAT4 (SLC22A11) is expressed on the apical membrane of renal proximal tubule cells and is known to mediate the transport of a variety of xenobiotic and endogenous organic anions. Functional characterization of genetic variants of apical transporters thought to mediate reabsorption, such as OAT4, may provide insight into the genetic factors influencing the complex pathways involved in drug elimination and metabolite reclamation occurring in the kidney. Naturally occurring genetic variants of OAT4 were identified in public databases and by resequencing DNA samples from 272 individuals comprising 4 distinct ethnic groups. Nine total nonsynonymous variants were identified and functionally assessed using uptake of three radiolabeled substrates. A nonsense variant, R48Stop, and three other variants (R121C, V155G, and V155M) were found at frequencies of at least 2% in an ethnic group specific fashion. The L29P, R48Stop, and H469R variants displayed a complete loss of function, and kinetic analysis identified a reduced V(max) in the common nonsynonymous variants. Plasma membrane levels of OAT4 protein were absent or reduced in the nonfunctional variants, providing a mechanistic reason for the observed loss of function. Characterization of the genetic variants of reabsorptive transporters such as OAT4 is an important step in understanding variability in tubular reabsorption with important implications in innate homeostatic processes and drug disposition.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Asian / genetics
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Black or African American / genetics
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA / genetics*
  • Genetic Variation / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / physiology*
  • Mexican Americans / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Organic Anion Transporters, Sodium-Independent / genetics*
  • Organic Anion Transporters, Sodium-Independent / physiology*
  • Transfection
  • White People / genetics


  • Organic Anion Transporters, Sodium-Independent
  • SLC22A11 protein, human
  • DNA