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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2007 Aug;1772(8):813-21. Epub 2007 Apr 3.

TRPM6 and TRPM7--Gatekeepers of human magnesium metabolism.

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University Children's Hospital, Philipps-University, Deutschhausstr. 12, 35037 Marburg, Germany.


Human magnesium homeostasis primarily depends on the balance between intestinal absorption and renal excretion. Magnesium transport processes in both organ systems - next to passive paracellular magnesium flux - involve active transcellular magnesium transport consisting of an apical uptake into the epithelial cell and a basolateral extrusion into the interstitium. Whereas the mechanism of basolateral magnesium extrusion remains unknown, recent molecular genetic studies in patients with hereditary hypomagnesemia helped gain insight into the molecular nature of apical magnesium entry into intestinal brush border and renal tubular epithelial cells. Patients with Hypomagnesemia with Secondary Hypocalcemia (HSH), a primary defect in intestinal magnesium absorption, were found to carry mutations in TRPM6, a member of the melastatin-related subfamily of transient receptor potential (TRP) ion channels. Before, a close homologue of TRPM6, TRPM7, had been characterized as a magnesium and calcium permeable ion channel vital for cellular magnesium homeostasis. Both proteins share the unique feature of an ion channel fused to a kinase domain with homology to the family of atypical alpha kinases. The aim of this review is to summarize the data emerging from clinical and molecular genetic studies as well as from electrophysiologic and biochemical studies on these fascinating two new proteins and their role in human magnesium metabolism.

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