Many clinically used drugs and their metabolites as well as a variety of environmental toxins are organic cations at physiologic pH. Secretion in the renal proximal tubule constitutes a major pathway in the elimination of organic cations. In this report, the results of studies recently performed in this laboratory are presented. First, the molecular cloning of a novel splice variant of organic cation transporter from rat kidney (rOCT1A) is described. The functional characteristics of the transporter are discussed along with the implications of RNA splicing in enhancing transporter diversity. Second, the molecular cloning of the first human organic cation transporter (hOCT1) is described. Distinct interspecies differences in the tissue distribution and function of this transporter is presented. These studies have paved the way for elucidating molecular structure function relationships of organic cation transporters and for determining their physiologic role in drug absorption and elimination. The cloned transporters can be used in mammalian expression systems for screening candidate compounds identified during drug discovery and development and in the in vivo prediction of the pharmacokinetics of therapeutic agents.