The ADP/ATP, phosphate, and oxoglutarate/malate carrier proteins found in the inner membranes of mitochondria, and the uncoupling protein from mitochondria in mammalian brown adipose tissue, belong to the same protein superfamily. Established members of this superfamily have polypeptide chains approximately 300 amino acids long that consist of three tandem related sequences of about 100 amino acids. The tandem repeats from the different proteins are interrelated, and probably have similar secondary structures. The common features of this superfamily are also present in nine proteins of unknown functions characterized by DNA sequencing in various species, most notably in Caenorhabditis elegans and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The high level expression in Escherichia coli of the bovine oxoglutarate/malate carrier, and the reconstitution of active carrier from the expressed protein, offers encouragement that the identity of superfamily members of known sequence but unknown function may be uncovered by a similar route.