The sodium-calcium exchanger (often denoted Na+/Ca2+ exchanger, exchange protein, or NCX) is an antiporter membrane protein that removes calcium from cells. It uses the energy that is stored in the electrochemical gradient of sodium (Na+) by allowing Na+ to flow down its gradient across the plasma membrane in exchange for the countertransport of calcium ions (Ca2+). A single calcium ion is exported for the import of three sodium ions. The exchanger exists in many different cell types and animal species. The NCX is considered one of the most important cellular mechanisms for removing Ca2+. The exchanger is usually found in the plasma membranes and the mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum of excitable cells.