The rise and fall of novel renal magnesium transporters

Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2018 Jun 1;314(6):F1027-F1033. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00634.2017. Epub 2018 Feb 7.


Body Mg2+ balance is finely regulated in the distal convoluted tubule (DCT), where a tight interplay among transcellular reabsorption, mitochondrial exchange, and basolateral extrusion takes place. In the last decades, several research groups have aimed to identify the molecular players in these processes. A multitude of proteins have been proposed to function as Mg2+ transporter in eukaryotes based on phylogenetic analysis, differential gene expression, and overexpression studies. However, functional evidence for many of these proteins is lacking. The aim of this review is, therefore, to critically reconsider all putative Mg2+ transporters and put their presumed function in context of the renal handling of Mg2+. Sufficient experimental evidence exists to acknowledge transient receptor potential melastatin (TRPM) 6 and TRPM7, solute carrier family 41 (SLC41) A1 and SLC41A3, and mitochondrial RNA splicing 2 (MRS2) as Mg2+ transporters. TRPM6/7 facilitate Mg2+ influx, SLC41A1 mediates Mg2+ extrusion, and MRS2 and SLC41A3 are implicated in mitochondrial Mg2+ homeostasis. These proteins are highly expressed in the DCT. The function of cyclin M (CNNM) proteins is still under debate. For the other proposed Mg2+ transporters including Mg2+ transporter subtype 1 (MagT1), nonimprinted in Prader-Willi/Angelman syndrome (NIPA), membrane Mg2+ transport (MMgT), Huntingtin-interacting protein 14 (HIP14), and ATP13A4, functional evidence is limited, or functions alternative to Mg2+ transport have been suggested. Additional characterization of their Mg2+ transport proficiency should be provided before further claims about their role as Mg2+ transporter can be made.

Keywords: Mg2+ transporters; distal convoluted tubule; magnesium reabsorption.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cation Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Ion Channels / metabolism*
  • Ion Transport
  • Kidney Tubules / metabolism*
  • Magnesium / metabolism*
  • Renal Elimination*
  • Renal Reabsorption*


  • Cation Transport Proteins
  • Ion Channels
  • Magnesium