During the last 2 years, several novel genes that encode glucose transporter-like proteins have been identified and characterized. Because of their sequence similarity with GLUT1, these genes appear to belong to the family of solute carriers 2A (SLC2A, protein symbol GLUT). Sequence comparisons of all 13 family members allow the definition of characteristic sugar/polyol transporter signatures: (1) the presence of 12 membrane-spanning helices, (2) seven conserved glycine residues in the helices, (3) several basic and acidic residues at the intracellular surface of the proteins, (4) two conserved tryptophan residues, and (5) two conserved tyrosine residues. On the basis of sequence similarities and characteristic elements, the extended GLUT family can be divided into three subfamilies, namely class I (the previously known glucose transporters GLUT1-4), class II (the previously known fructose transporter GLUT5, the GLUT7, GLUT9 and GLUT11), and class III (GLUT6, 8, 10, 12, and the myo-inositol transporter HMIT1). Functional characteristics have been reported for some of the novel GLUTs. Like GLUT1-4, they exhibit a tissue/cell-specific expression (GLUT6, leukocytes, brain; GLUT8, testis, blastocysts, brain, muscle, adipocytes; GLUT9, liver, kidney; GLUT10, liver, pancreas; GLUT11, heart, skeletal muscle). GLUT6 and GLUT8 appear to be regulated by sub-cellular redistribution, because they are targeted to intra-cellular compartments by dileucine motifs in a dynamin dependent manner. Sugar transport has been reported for GLUT6, 8, and 11; HMIT1 has been shown to be a H+/myo-inositol co-transporter. Thus, the members of the extended GLUT family exhibit a surprisingly diverse substrate specificity, and the definition of sequence elements determining this substrate specificity will require a full functional characterization of all members.