Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology

, Volume 466, Issue 1, pp 155–172 | Cite as

The SLC38 family of sodium–amino acid co-transporters

  • Stefan BröerEmail author
Invited Review


Transporters of the SLC38 family are found in all cell types of the body. They mediate Na+-dependent net uptake and efflux of small neutral amino acids. As a result they are particularly expressed in cells that grow actively, or in cells that carry out significant amino acid metabolism, such as liver, kidney and brain. SLC38 transporters occur in membranes that face intercellular space or blood vessels, but do not occur in the apical membrane of absorptive epithelia. In the placenta, they play a significant role in the transfer of amino acids to the foetus. Members of the SLC38 family are highly regulated in response to amino acid depletion, hypertonicity and hormonal stimuli. SLC38 transporters play an important role in amino acid signalling and have been proposed to act as transceptors independent of their transport function. The structure of SLC38 transporters is characterised by the 5 + 5 inverted repeat fold, which is observed in a wide variety of transport proteins.


Transceptor Transporter structure Amino acid response element Endoplasmic reticulum stress Unfolded protein response Placenta Intrauterine growth restriction Diabetes Metabolic acidosis Gluconeogenesis Urea cycle Stem cells 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research School of BiologyAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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