The systems biology of uric acid transporters: the role of remote sensing and signaling

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Purpose of reviewUric acid homeostasis in the body is mediated by a number of SLC and ABC transporters in the kidney and intestine, including several multispecific ‘drug’ transporters (e.g., OAT1, OAT3, and ABCG2). Optimization of uric acid levels can be viewed as a ‘systems biology’ problem. Here, we consider uric acid transporters from a systems physiology perspective using the framework of the ‘Remote Sensing and Signaling Hypothesis.’ This hypothesis explains how SLC and ABC ‘drug’ and other transporters mediate interorgan and interorganismal communication (e.g., gut microbiome and host) via small molecules (e.g., metabolites, antioxidants signaling molecules) through transporters expressed in tissues lining body fluid compartments (e.g., blood, urine, cerebrospinal fluid).Recent findingsThe list of uric acid transporters includes: SLC2A9, ABCG2, URAT1 (SLC22A12), OAT1 (SLC22A6), OAT3 (SLC22A8), OAT4 (SLC22A11), OAT10 (SLC22A13), NPT1 (SLC17A1), NPT4 (SLC17A3), MRP2 (ABCC2), MRP4 (ABCC4). Normally, SLC2A9, – along with URAT1, OAT1 and OAT3, – appear to be the main transporters regulating renal urate handling, while ABCG2 appears to regulate intestinal transport. In chronic kidney disease (CKD), intestinal ABCG2 becomes much more important, suggesting remote organ communication between the injured kidney and the intestine.SummaryThe remote sensing and signaling hypothesis provides a useful systems-level framework for understanding the complex interplay of uric acid transporters expressed in different tissues involved in optimizing uric acid levels under normal and diseased (e.g., CKD, gut microflora dysbiosis) conditions.

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