Sodium-coupled dicarboxylate and citrate transporters from the SLC13 family

Pflugers Arch. 2014 Jan;466(1):119-30. doi: 10.1007/s00424-013-1369-y. Epub 2013 Oct 10.


The SLC13 family in humans and other mammals consists of sodium-coupled transporters for anionic substrates: three transporters for dicarboxylates/citrate and two transporters for sulfate. This review will focus on the di- and tricarboxylate transporters: NaDC1 (SLC13A2), NaDC3 (SLC13A3), and NaCT (SLC13A5). The substrates of these transporters are metabolic intermediates of the citric acid cycle, including citrate, succinate, and α-ketoglutarate, which can exert signaling effects through specific receptors or can affect metabolic enzymes directly. The SLC13 transporters are important for regulating plasma, urinary and tissue levels of these metabolites. NaDC1, primarily found on the apical membranes of renal proximal tubule and small intestinal cells, is involved in regulating urinary levels of citrate and plays a role in kidney stone development. NaDC3 has a wider tissue distribution and high substrate affinity compared with NaDC1. NaDC3 participates in drug and xenobiotic excretion through interactions with organic anion transporters. NaCT is primarily a citrate transporter located in the liver and brain, and its activity may regulate metabolic processes. The recent crystal structure of the Vibrio cholerae homolog, VcINDY, provides a new framework for understanding the mechanism of transport in this family. This review summarizes current knowledge of the structure, function, and regulation of the di- and tricarboxylate transporters of the SLC13 family.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Citrates / metabolism*
  • Dicarboxylic Acids / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Organic Anion Transporters, Sodium-Dependent / chemistry
  • Organic Anion Transporters, Sodium-Dependent / genetics
  • Organic Anion Transporters, Sodium-Dependent / metabolism*


  • Citrates
  • Dicarboxylic Acids
  • Organic Anion Transporters, Sodium-Dependent