Discovery and characterization of novel inhibitors of the sodium-coupled citrate transporter (NaCT or SLC13A5)

Sci Rep. 2015 Dec 1;5:17391. doi: 10.1038/srep17391.


Citrate is a key regulatory metabolic intermediate as it facilitates the integration of the glycolysis and lipid synthesis pathways. Inhibition of hepatic extracellular citrate uptake, by blocking the sodium-coupled citrate transporter (NaCT or SLC13A5), has been suggested as a potential therapeutic approach to treat metabolic disorders. NaCT transports citrate from the blood into the cell coupled to the transport of sodium ions. The studies herein report the identification and characterization of a novel small dicarboxylate molecule (compound 2) capable of selectively and potently inhibiting citrate transport through NaCT, both in vitro and in vivo. Binding and transport experiments indicate that 2 specifically binds NaCT in a competitive and stereosensitive manner, and is recognized as a substrate for transport by NaCT. The favorable pharmacokinetic properties of 2 permitted in vivo experiments to evaluate the effect of inhibiting hepatic citrate uptake on metabolic endpoints.

MeSH terms

  • Citric Acid / metabolism*
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Ion Transport / drug effects
  • Symporters / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Symporters / genetics
  • Symporters / metabolism


  • SLC13A5 protein, human
  • Symporters
  • Citric Acid