Introduction: Antimicrobial drugs are essential in the treatment of infectious diseases. A better understanding of transport processes involved in drug disposition will improve the predictability of drug-drug interactions with consequences for drug response. Multidrug And Toxin Extrusion (MATE; SLC47A) proteins are efflux transporters mediating the excretion of several antimicrobial drugs as well as other organic compounds into bile and urine, thereby contributing to drug disposition.
Areas covered: This review summarizes current knowledge of the structural and molecular features of human MATE transporters including their functional role in drug transport with a specific focus on antimicrobial drugs. The PubMed database was searched using the terms "MATE1," "MATE-2K," "MATE2," "SLC47A1," "SLC47A2," and "toxin extrusion protein" (up to June 2012).
Expert opinion: MATE proteins have been recognized as important transporters mediating the final excretion step of cationic drugs into bile and urine. These include the antiviral drugs acyclovir, amprenavir, and ganciclovir, the antibiotics cephalexin, cephradine and levofloxacin, as well as the antimalarial agents chloroquine and quinine. It is therefore important to enhance our understanding of the role of MATEs in drug extrusion with particular emphasis on the functional consequences of genetic variants on disposition of these antimicrobial drugs.