Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 447, Issue 5, pp 549–565

Diversity of the mammalian sodium/proton exchanger SLC9 gene family

The ABC of Solute carriers Guest Editor: Matthias A. Hediger

DOI: 10.1007/s00424-003-1110-3

Cite this article as:
Orlowski, J. & Grinstein, S. Pflugers Arch - Eur J Physiol (2004) 447: 549. doi:10.1007/s00424-003-1110-3


Sodium/proton antiporters or exchangers (NHE) are integral membrane proteins present in most, if not all, living organisms. In mammals, these transporters chiefly catalyze the electroneutral exchange of Na+ and H+ down their respective concentration gradients and are crucial for numerous physiological processes, ranging from the fine control of intracellular pH and cell volume to systemic electrolyte, acid-base and fluid volume homeostasis. NHE activity also facilitates the progression of other cellular events such as adhesion, migration, and proliferation. Thus far, eight distinct NHE genes (NHE1/SLC9A1–NHE8/SLC9A8) and several pseudogenes have been identified in the human genome. The functional genes encode proteins of varying primary sequence identity (25–70%), but share a common predicted secondary structure comprising 12 conserved membrane-spanning segments at the amino-terminus and a more divergent, cytoplasmically-oriented, carboxy-terminus. They show considerable heterogeneity in their patterns of tissue/cell expression and membrane localization. Functional studies have revealed further differences in their kinetic properties, sensitivity to pharmacological antagonists, and regulation by diverse hormonal and mechanical stimuli. Altered NHE activity has been linked to the pathogenesis of several diseases, including essential hypertension, congenital secretory diarrhea, diabetes, and tissue damage caused by ischemia/reperfusion. Further characterization of their functional properties should lead to a better understanding of their unique contributions to human health and disease.


Na+/H+ exchangerGenetic diversityAcid-base homeostasisNa+ absorptionOrganellar function

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag  2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Programme in Cell BiologyThe Hospital for Sick Children Research InstituteTorontoCanada