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The uptake carrier organic anion-transporting polypeptide 1B3 (OATP1B3, gene SLCO1B3) is involved in the hepatic clearance of xenobiotics including statins, taxanes, and mycophenolic acid. We thought to assess the SLCO1B3 coding region for yet unidentified polymorphisms and to analyze their functional relevance.We used DNA of ethnically diverse individuals for polymerase chain reaction, and determined polymorphisms by sequencing or temperature-dependent capillary electrophoresis. We then created variant OATP1B3 expression plasmids by site-directed mutagenesis, which were transiently expressed and functionally characterized in human cervical carcinoma (HeLa) cells using radiolabeled substrates.We identified six nonsynonymous polymorphisms including novel variants such as 439A>G (Thr147Ala), 767G>C (Gly256Ala), 1559A>C (His520Pro), and 1679T>C (Val560Ala). Allelic frequencies occurred to be ethnicity-dependent, with the latter observed only in African–Americans (3.6%). After expression in HeLa cells, His520Pro, Val560Ala, and Met233Ile or Met233Ile_Ser112Ala haplotype variants showed decreased uptake activity compared with wild type for cholecystokinin-8 and rosuvastatin, but not for atorvastatin. Kinetic cholecystokinin-8 analysis showed reduced Vmax without altering Km. His520Pro and Val560Ala exhibited decreased total and plasma membrane protein expressions. Val560 mapped onto a structural model of OATP1B3 showed that this is a key region for substrate–transporter interaction. His520 resides in a predicted extracellular region thought to be critical to the pH-dependent component of OATP1B3 activity. Loss of activity at pH 7.4 and 8.0 relative to pH 6.5 was significantly greater for the Pro520 variant.OATP1B3 polymorphisms that result in altered expression, substrate specificity, and pH-dependent activity may be of potential relevance to hepatic clearance of substrate drugs in vivo.