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Intrarenal control mechanisms play an important role in the maintenance of body fluid and electrolyte balance and pH homeostasis. Recent discoveries of new ion transport and regulatory pathways in the distal nephron and collecting duct system have helped to better our understanding of these critical kidney functions and identified new potential therapeutic targets and approaches. In this issue of the JCI, Tokonami et al. report on the function of an exciting new paracrine mediator, the mitochondrial the citric acid (TCA) cycle intermediate α-ketoglutarate (αKG), which via its OXGR1 receptor plays an unexpected, nontraditional role in the adaptive regulation of renal HCO3– secretion and salt reabsorption.