The proton-dependent oligopeptide transporters (POT) gene family currently consists of approximately 70 cloned cDNAs derived from diverse organisms. In mammals, two genes encoding peptide transporters, PepT1 and PepT2 have been cloned in several species including humans, in addition to a rat histidine/peptide transporter (rPHT1). Because the Candida elegans genome contains five putative POT genes, we searched the available protein and nucleic acid databases for additional mammalian/human POT genes, using iterative BLAST runs and the human expressed sequence tags (EST) database. The apparent human orthologue of rPHT1 (expression largely confined to rat brain and retina) was represented by numerous ESTs originating from many tissues. Assembly of these ESTs resulted in a contiguous sequence covering approximately 95% of the suspected coding region. The contig sequences and analyses revealed the presence of several possible splice variants of hPHT1. A second closely related human EST-contig displayed high identity to a recently cloned mouse cDNA encoding cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)-inducible 1 protein (gi:4580995). This contig served to identify a PAC clone containing deduced exons and introns of the likely human orthologue (termed hPHT2). Northern analyses with EST clones indicated that hPHT1 is primarily expressed in skeletal muscle and spleen, whereas hPHT2 is found in spleen, placenta, lung, leukocytes, and heart. These results suggest considerable complexity of the human POT gene family, with relevance to the absorption and distribution of cephalosporins and other peptoid drugs.