Transport of inorganic phosphate (P(i)) is mediated by proteins belonging to two solute carrier families (SLC20 and SLC34). Members of both families transport P(i) using the electrochemical gradient for Na(+). The role of the SLC34 members as essential players in mammalian P(i) homeostasis is well established, whereas that of SLC20 proteins is less well defined. The SLC34 family comprises the following three isoforms that preferentially cotransport divalent P(i) and are expressed in epithelial tissue: the renal NaPi-IIa and NaPi-IIc are responsible for reabsorbing P(i) in the proximal tubule, whereas NaPi-IIb is more ubiquitously expressed, including the small intestine, where it mediates dietary P(i) absorption. The SLC20 family comprises two members (PiT-1, PiT-2) that preferentially cotransport monovalent P(i) and are expressed in epithelial as well as nonepithelial tissue. The transport kinetics of members of both families have been characterized in detail using heterologous expression in Xenopus oocytes. For the electrogenic NaPi-IIa/b, and PiT-1,-2, conventional electrophysiological techniques together with radiotracer methods have been applied, as well as time-resolved fluorometric measurements that allow new insights into local conformational changes of the protein during the cotransport cycle. For the electroneutral NaPi-IIc, conventional tracer uptake and fluorometry have been used to elucidate its transport properties. The 3-D structures of these proteins remain unresolved and structure-function studies have so far concentrated on defining the topology and identifying sites of functional importance.