Mitochondrial transporters of the SLC25 family and associated diseases: a review

J Inherit Metab Dis. 2014 Jul;37(4):565-75. doi: 10.1007/s10545-014-9708-5. Epub 2014 May 6.


To date, 14 inherited diseases (including phenotypes) associated to mitochondrial transporters of the SLC25 family have been well characterized biochemically and genetically. They are rare metabolic disorders caused by mutations in the SLC25 nuclear genes that encode mitochondrial carriers, a superfamily of 53 proteins in humans that shuttle a variety of solutes across the mitochondrial membrane. Mitochondrial carriers vary considerably in the nature and size of the substrates they transport, the modes of transport and driving forces. However, their substrate translocation mechanism at the molecular level is thought to be basically the same. Herein, the main structural and functional properties of the SLC25 mitochondrial carriers and the known carrier-related diseases are presented. Two of these disorders, ADP/ATP carrier deficiency and phosphate carrier deficiency, are caused by defects of the two mitochondrial carriers that provide mitochondria with ADP and phosphate, the substrates of oxidative phosphorylation; these disorders therefore are characterized by defective energy production by mitochondria. The mutations of SLC25 carrier genes involved in other cellular functions cause carnitine/acylcarnitine carrier deficiency, HHH syndrome, aspartate/glutamate isoform 1 and 2 deficiencies, congenital Amish microcephaly, neuropathy with bilateral striatal necrosis, congenital sideroblastic anemia, neonatal epileptic encephalopathy, and citrate carrier deficiency; these disorders are characterized by specific metabolic dysfunctions depending on the role of the defective carrier in intermediary metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anion Transport Proteins / chemistry
  • Anion Transport Proteins / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Metabolism, Inborn Errors / genetics*
  • Metabolism, Inborn Errors / metabolism
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / genetics*
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / metabolism
  • Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins / chemistry
  • Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Multigene Family
  • Protein Conformation


  • Anion Transport Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins