Ion Channels, Receptors and Transporters

Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology

, Volume 460, Issue 2, pp 543-557

First online:

ClC transporters: discoveries and challenges in defining the mechanisms underlying function and regulation of ClC-5

  • Leigh WellhauserAffiliated withDepartment of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
  • , Christina D’AntonioAffiliated withDepartment of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
  • , Christine E. BearAffiliated withDepartment of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of TorontoDepartment of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of TorontoProgramme in Molecular Structure and Function, Research Institute, Hospital for Sick Children Email author 

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The involvement of several members of the chloride channel (ClC) family of membrane proteins in human disease highlights the need to define the mechanisms underlying their function and the consequences of disease-causing mutations. Despite the utility of high-resolution structural models, our understanding of the molecular basis for function of the chloride channels and transporters in the family remains incomplete. In this review, we focus on recent discoveries regarding molecular mechanisms underlying the regulated chloride:proton antiporter activity of ClC-5, the protein mutated in the Dent’s disease—a kidney disease presenting with proteinuria and renal failure in severe cases. We discuss the putative role of ClC-5 in receptor-mediated endocytosis and protein uptake by the proximal renal tubule and the possible molecular and cellular consequences of disease-causing mutations. However, validation of these models will require future study of the intrinsic function of this transporter, in situ, in the membranes of recycling endosomes in proximal tubule epithelial cells.


Channels Chloride Epithelial cell Intracellular pH Ion transport pH regulation