Phosphate is an essential nutrient for life and is a critical component of bone formation, a major signaling molecule, and structural component of cell walls. Phosphate is also a component of high-energy compounds (i.e., AMP, ADP, and ATP) and essential for nucleic acid helical structure (i.e., RNA and DNA). Phosphate plays a central role in the process of mineralization, normal serum levels being associated with appropriate bone mineralization, while high and low serum levels are associated with soft tissue calcification. The serum concentration of phosphate and the total body content of phosphate are highly regulated, a process that is accomplished by the coordinated effort of two families of sodium-dependent transporter proteins. The three isoforms of the SLC34 family (SLC34A1-A3) show very restricted tissue expression and regulate intestinal absorption and renal excretion of phosphate. SLC34A2 also regulates the phosphate concentration in multiple lumen fluids including milk, saliva, pancreatic fluid, and surfactant. Both isoforms of the SLC20 family exhibit ubiquitous expression (with some variation as to which one or both are expressed), are regulated by ambient phosphate, and likely serve the phosphate needs of the individual cell. These proteins exhibit similarities to phosphate transporters in nonmammalian organisms. The proteins are nonredundant as mutations in each yield unique clinical presentations. Further research is essential to understand the function, regulation, and coordination of the various phosphate transporters, both the ones described in this review and the phosphate transporters involved in intracellular transport.
- phosphate transport, sodium phosphate cotransporters
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Physiology (medical)