Intracellular and extracellular pH are important biological factors because pH affects the structure and function of virtually all proteins in cells. A pH change alters activities of enzymes, membrane proteins and signaling molecules, resulting in abnormal cell functions. Intracellular pH is governed by acid-base transporters which move acid equivalents, such as H+, or base equivalents, such as HCO3−, across cell membranes.
We study Na+-coupled HCO3− transporters that comprise Na/HCO3 cotransporters and Na+-driven Cl/HCO3 exchanger. These proteins are members of SLC4A transporters that move HCO3− across cell membranes. SLC4A transporters also include Cl/HCO3 exchangers and distantly related Na/borate transporter. The major goal of the study is to understand the cellular, physiological and pathological function of these transporters in the body.