Phosphate transport: molecular basis, regulation and pathophysiology

Harriet S Tenenhouse
Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 2007, 103 (3-5): 572-7
Inorganic phosphate (Pi) is fundamental to cellular metabolism and skeletal mineralization. Ingested Pi is absorbed by the small intestine, deposited in bone, and filtered by the kidney where it is reabsorbed and excreted in amounts determined by the specific needs of the organism. Two distinct renal Na-dependent Pi transporters, type IIa (NPT2a, SLC34A1) and type IIc (NPT2c, SLC34A3), are expressed in brush border membrane of proximal tubular cells where the bulk of filtered Pi is reabsorbed. Both are regulated by dietary Pi intake and parathyroid hormone. Regulation is achieved by changes in transporter protein abundance in the brush border membrane and requires the interaction of the transporter with scaffolding and signaling proteins. The demonstration of hypophosphatemia secondary to decreased renal Pi reabsorption in mice homozygous for the disrupted type IIa gene underscores its crucial role in the maintenance of Pi homeostasis. Moreover, the recent identification of mutations in the type IIc gene in patients with hereditary hypophosphatemic rickets with hypercalciuria attests to the importance of this transporter in Pi conservation and subsequent skeletal mineralization. Two novel Pi regulating genes, PHEX and FGF23, play a role in the pathophysiology of inherited and acquired hypophosphatemic skeletal disorders and studies are underway to define their mechanism of action on renal Pi handling in health and disease.

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