The field of transport biology has steadily grown over the past decade and is now recognized as playing an important role in manifestation and treatment of disease. The SLC (solute carrier) gene series has grown to now include 52 families and 395 transporter genes in the human genome. A list of these genes can be found at the HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee (HGNC) website (see www.genenames.org/genefamilies/SLC). This special issue features mini-reviews for each of these SLC families written by the experts in each field. The existing online resource for solute carriers, the Bioparadigms SLC Tables (www.bioparadigms.org), has been updated and significantly extended with additional information and cross-links to other relevant databases, and the nomenclature used in this database has been validated and approved by the HGNC. In addition, the Bioparadigms SLC Tables functionality has been improved to allow easier access by the scientific community. This introduction includes: an overview of all known SLC and "non-SLC" transporter genes; a list of transporters of water soluble vitamins; a summary of recent progress in the structure determination of transporters (including GLUT1/SLC2A1); roles of transporters in human diseases and roles in drug approval and pharmaceutical perspectives.
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