The human genome contains numerous genes that encode membrane transporters and related proteins. For drug discovery, development, and targeting, one needs to know which transporters play a role in drug disposition and effects. Moreover, genetic polymorphisms in human membrane transporters may contribute to interindividual differences in the response to drugs. Pharmacogenetics, and, on a genome-wide basis, pharmacogenomics, address the effect of genetic variants on an individual's response to drugs and xenobiotics. However, our knowledge of the relevant transporters is limited at present. To facilitate the study of drug transporters on a broad scale, including the use of microarray technology, we have constructed a human membrane transporter database (HMTD). Even though it is still largely incomplete, the database contains information on more than 250 human membrane transporters, such as sequence, gene family, structure, function, substrate, tissue distribution, and genetic disorders associated with transporter polymorphisms. Readers are invited to submit additional data. Implemented as a relational database, HMTD supports complex biological queries. Accessible through a Web browser user interface via Common Gateway Interface (CGI) and Java Database Connection (JDBC) (http://126.96.36.199/transporter/trans.html),
HMTD also provides useful links and references, allowing interactive searching and downloading of data. Taking advantage of the features of an electronic journal, this paper serves as an interactive tutorial for using the database, which we expect to develop into a research tool.