Reviewed February 2008
What is the official name of the SLC26A2 gene?
The official name of this gene is “solute carrier family 26 (anion exchanger), member 2.”
SLC26A2 is the gene's official symbol. The SLC26A2 gene is also known by other names, listed below.
Read more about gene names and symbols on the About page.
What is the normal function of the SLC26A2 gene?
The SLC26A2 gene provides instructions for making a protein that transports charged molecules (ions), particularly sulfate ions, across cell membranes. This protein appears to be active in many of the body's tissues, including developing cartilage. Cartilage is a tough, flexible tissue that makes up much of the skeleton during early development. Most cartilage is later converted to bone, except for the cartilage that continues to cover and protect the ends of bones and is present in the nose and external ears.
Cartilage cells use sulfate ions transported by the SLC26A2 protein to build molecules called proteoglycans. These molecules, which each consist of several sugars attached to a protein, help give cartilage its rubbery, gel-like structure. Because sulfate ions are required to make proteoglycans, the transport activity of the SLC26A2 protein is essential for normal cartilage formation.
Does the SLC26A2 gene share characteristics with other genes?
The SLC26A2 gene belongs to a family of genes called SLC (solute carriers).
A gene family is a group of genes that share important characteristics. Classifying individual genes into families helps researchers describe how genes are related to each other. For more information, see What are gene families? in the Handbook.
How are changes in the SLC26A2 gene related to health conditions?
achondrogenesis - caused by mutations in the SLC26A2 gene
At least nine mutations in the SLC26A2 gene are responsible for achondrogenesis type 1B. These mutations prevent the SLC26A2 gene from producing any functional protein. One common mutation deletes the amino acid valine (one of the building blocks of proteins) at position 340 in the SLC26A2 protein. This genetic change is written as delV340. Another common mutation (written as Arg178Ter or R178X) replaces the amino acid arginine at position 178 with a signal that prematurely stops protein production.
Mutations that cause achondrogenesis type 1B prevent cartilage cells from taking up the necessary sulfate ions. Without enough sulfate, the cell is unable to produce normal proteoglycans. A lack of these important molecules severely disrupts the structure of cartilage, making it look coarse and spongelike under a microscope. Because much of the skeleton develops from cartilage before birth and in early childhood, SLC26A2 mutations prevent bones from developing and growing normally, causing the skeletal abnormalities seen in achondrogenesis type 1B.
atelosteogenesis type 2 - caused by mutations in the SLC26A2 gene
Several SLC26A2 mutations that cause atelosteogenesis type 2 have been identified. Affected individuals typically have a mutation in one copy of the gene that disrupts the normal structure of the SLC26A2 protein, and a mutation in the other copy of the gene that prevents it from producing any functional protein.
A common SLC26A2 mutation replaces the amino acid arginine with the amino acid tryptophan at position 279 in the protein (written as Arg279Trp or R279W). In the Finnish population, the most common mutation (usually written as IVS1+2T>C) interferes with the normal processing of the SLC26A2 protein. Another common mutation replaces the amino acid arginine at position 178 with a signal that prematurely stops protein production(written as Arg178Ter or R178X).
SLC26A2 mutations alter the structure and function of the SLC26A2 transporter protein, which disrupts the ability of cartilage cells to take up the necessary sulfate ions. The cell is then unable to produce normal proteoglycans, which affects the structure of cartilage and the normal formation and growth of bones.
diastrophic dysplasia - caused by mutations in the SLC26A2 gene
More than 20 SLC26A2 mutations have been identified in people with diastrophic dysplasia. Like atelosteogenesis type 2, people with diastrophic dysplasia usually have a mutation in one copy of the gene that disrupts the normal structure of the SLC26A2 protein and a mutation in the other copy of the gene that prevents it from producing any functional protein.
These and several other mutations disrupt the ability of cartilage cells to take up the necessary sulfate ions. Without enough sulfate, the cell is unable to produce normal proteoglycans. A lack of these essential molecules affects the structure of cartilage and the normal formation and growth of bones.
multiple epiphyseal dysplasia - caused by mutations in the SLC26A2 gene
Mutations that cause recessive multiple epiphyseal dysplasia typically replace one amino acid with another amino acid in a noncritical segment of the SLC26A2 protein. The most common mutation that causes recessive multiple epiphyseal dysplasia replaces the amino acid arginine with the amino acid tryptophan at position 279 in the protein (written as Arg279Trp or R279W). Another mutation that commonly causes this condition replaces the amino acid cysteine with the amino acid serine at position 653 in the SLC26A2 protein (written as Cys653Ser or C653S).
The SLC26A2 mutations responsible for recessive multiple epiphyseal dysplasia tend to have less serious effects than mutations that cause severe skeletal disorders such as achondrogenesis type 1B. As a result of these milder mutations, the SLC26A2 protein likely retains some of its function as a transporter of sulfate ions. Cartilage and bone formation are less severely affected, which may help explain the relatively mild signs and symptoms characteristic of recessive multiple epiphyseal dysplasia.
Where is the SLC26A2 gene located?
Cytogenetic Location: 5q31-q34
Molecular Location on chromosome 5: base pairs 149,340,299 to 149,366,962
The SLC26A2 gene is located on the long (q) arm of chromosome 5 between positions 31 and 34.
More precisely, the SLC26A2 gene is located from base pair 149,340,299 to base pair 149,366,962 on chromosome 5.
See How do geneticists indicate the location of a gene? in the Handbook.
Where can I find additional information about SLC26A2?
You and your healthcare professional may find the following resources about SLC26A2 helpful.
You may also be interested in these resources, which are designed for genetics professionals and researchers.
What other names do people use for the SLC26A2 gene or gene products?
- diastrophic dysplasia sulfate transporter
- solute carrier family 26 member 2
- solute carrier family 26 (sulfate transporter), member 2
- sulfate anion transporter 1
- sulfate transporter
Where can I find general information about genes?
The Handbook provides basic information about genetics in clear language.
These links provide additional genetics resources that may be useful.
What glossary definitions help with understanding SLC26A2?
The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for
professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information about
a personal genetic disease, syndrome, or condition should consult with a qualified
See How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.