Sulfate and thiosulfate inhibit oxalate transport via a dPrestin (Slc26a6)-dependent mechanism in an insect model of calcium oxalate nephrolithiasis

Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2016 Jan 15;310(2):F152-9. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00406.2015. Epub 2015 Nov 4.


Nephrolithiasis is one of the most common urinary tract disorders, with the majority of kidney stones composed of calcium oxalate (CaOx). Given its prevalence (US occurrence 10%), it is still poorly understood, lacking progress in identifying new therapies because of its complex etiology. Drosophila melanogaster (fruitfly) is a recently developed model of CaOx nephrolithiasis. Effects of sulfate and thiosulfate on crystal formation were investigated using the Drosophila model, as well as electrophysiological effects on both Drosophila (Slc26a5/6; dPrestin) and mouse (mSlc26a6) oxalate transporters utilizing the Xenopus laevis oocyte heterologous expression system. Results indicate that both transport thiosulfate with a much higher affinity than sulfate Additionally, both compounds were effective at decreasing CaOx crystallization when added to the diet. However, these results were not observed when compounds were applied to Malpighian tubules ex vivo. Neither compound affected CaOx crystallization in dPrestin knockdown animals, indicating a role for principal cell-specific dPrestin in luminal oxalate transport. Furthermore, thiosulfate has a higher affinity for dPrestin and mSlc26a6 compared with oxalate These data indicate that thiosulfate's ability to act as a competitive inhibitor of oxalate via dPrestin, can explain the decrease in CaOx crystallization seen in the presence of thiosulfate, but not sulfate. Overall, our findings predict that thiosulfate or oxalate-mimics may be effective as therapeutic competitive inhibitors of CaOx crystallization.

Keywords: Slc26a6; electrophysiology; inhibition; kinetics; oxalate; sulfate; thiosulfate; transport.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anion Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Antiporters / metabolism*
  • Calcium Oxalate / metabolism*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Ion Transport / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Nephrolithiasis / metabolism*
  • Oxalic Acid / metabolism*
  • Sulfate Transporters
  • Sulfates / pharmacology*
  • Thiosulfates / pharmacology*


  • Anion Transport Proteins
  • Antiporters
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Slc26a6 protein, mouse
  • Sulfate Transporters
  • Sulfates
  • Thiosulfates
  • prestin protein, Drosophila
  • Calcium Oxalate
  • Oxalic Acid