Monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs) belong to the SLC16 family within the major facilitator superfamily of transmembrane transporters. MCT8 is a thyroid hormone transporter mutated in the Allan-Herndon-Dudley syndrome, a severe psychomotor retardation syndrome. MCT10 is closely related to MCT8 and is known as T-type amino acid transporter. Both transporters mediate T3 transport, but although MCT8 also transports rT3 and T4, these compounds are not efficiently transported by MCT10, which, in contrast, transports aromatic amino acids. Based on the 58% amino acid identity within the transmembrane regions among MCT8 and MCT10, we reasoned that substrate specificity may be primarily determined by a small number of amino acid differences between MCT8 and MCT10 along the substrate translocation channel. Inspecting the homology model of MCT8 and a structure-guided alignment between both proteins, we selected 8 amino acid positions and prepared chimeric MCT10 proteins with selected amino acids changed to the corresponding amino acids in MCT8. The MCT10 mutant harboring 8 amino acid substitutions was stably expressed in Madin-Darby canine kidney 1 cells and found to exhibit T4 transport activity. We then successively reduced the number of amino acid substitutions and eventually identified a minimal set of 2-3 amino acid exchanges which were sufficient to allow T4 transport. The resulting MCT10 chimeras exhibited KM values for T4 similar to MCT8 but transported T4 at a slower rate. The acquisition of T4 transport by MCT10 was associated with complete loss of the capacity to transport Phe, when Tyr184 was mutated to Phe.