The healthy functioning of living cells requires strict control over the import and export of ions, metabolites and nutrients across membranes. Highly regulated transport proteins fulfil this role, and it has been estimated that ~10% of the human genome is linked to membrane transport. The solute carrier (SLC) family is the largest class of such proteins (~400 members), and SLCs play vital roles across practically all cell types in all tissues. The importance of SLCs in disease can be illustrated by human genetic data which suggest that roughly 50% of SLCs are associated with a human disease-related phenotype compared to a rate of only ~20% for the broader human genome. A significant barrier to the study of SLCs is gaining access to relevant reagents and cell systems in which they are expressed
If these reagents become available it will lead to an acceleration in the discovery of effective new medicines for patients suffering from a range of diseases, to the benefit of society at large
This topic aims to unlock the therapeutic potential within the SLC gene family by overcoming many of the technical barriers that have hindered their study and prevented their exploitation as drug targets by generating research tools and by making them freely available to the scientific community.