Reviewed March 2015
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 eight mutations in the SLC26A2 gene have been found to cause a form of achondrogenesis known as type 1B or the Parenti-Fraccaro type. This rare disorder of bone development is characterized by extremely short limbs, short fingers and toes, a narrow chest, and a prominent, rounded abdomen. Serious health problems result from these abnormalities, and infants with achondrogenesis usually die before or soon after birth.
Two SLC26A2 gene mutations appear to be relatively common causes of achondrogenesis type 1B. One of these mutations deletes a single protein building block (amino acid) at position 341 in the SLC26A2 protein. This genetic change is written as Val341del. The other mutation deletes three DNA building blocks (base pairs) at a specific place in the SLC26A2 gene. This genetic change is written as c.1020_1022delTGT.
The SLC26A2 gene mutations that cause achondrogenesis type 1B prevent the production of any functional protein from the SLC26A2 gene. Without this protein, cartilage cells are unable to take up the necessary sulfate ions, and cells cannot 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 gene mutations prevent bones from developing and growing normally, causing the severe skeletal abnormalities seen in achondrogenesis type 1B.
atelosteogenesis type 2 - caused by mutations in the SLC26A2 gene
At least eight SLC26A2 gene mutations have been identified in people with atelosteogenesis type 2, another severe disorder of cartilage and bone development. 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 the production of any functional protein.
One common mutation that causes atelosteogenesis type 2 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.
SLC26A2 gene 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 gene mutations have been identified in people with diastrophic dysplasia. This disorder of cartilage and bone development has features similar to those of atelosteogenesis type 2 (described above), although diastrophic dysplasia tends to be less severe. Like people with 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 the production of any functional protein.
The SLC26A2 gene mutations that cause diastrophic dysplasia 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
At least four mutations in the SLC26A2 gene have been found in people with multiple epiphyseal dysplasia, a disorder of cartilage and bone development that primarily affects the ends of the long bones in the arms and legs (epiphyses). SLC26A2 gene mutations cause the recessive form of the disorder, which is also characterized by malformations of the hands, feet, and knees; abnormal curvature of the spine (scoliosis); and other birth defects.
Mutations that cause recessive multiple epiphyseal dysplasia typically replace one amino acid with another amino acid in the SLC26A2 protein. The most common mutation 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 gene mutations that result in recessive multiple epiphyseal dysplasia tend to have less serious effects than mutations that cause life-threatening 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 impaired to a lesser degree, which may help explain the less severe signs and symptoms of recessive multiple epiphyseal dysplasia.
Where is the SLC26A2 gene located?
Cytogenetic Location: 5q31-q34
Molecular Location on chromosome 5: base pairs 149,960,737 to 149,987,400
(Homo sapiens Annotation Release 107, GRCh38.p2) (NCBI
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 149,960,737 to base pair 149,987,400 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.