Uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2) belongs to a family of transporters/exchangers of the mitochondrial inner membrane. Using cell lines representing natural sites of UCP2 expression (macrophages, colonocytes, pancreatic beta cells), we show that UCP2 expression is stimulated by glutamine at physiological concentrations. This control is exerted at the translational level. We demonstrate that the upstream open reading frame (ORF1) in the 5' untranslated region (5'UTR) of the UCP2 mRNA is required for this stimulation to take place. Cloning of the 5' UTR of the UCP2 mRNA in front of a GFP cDNA resulted in a reporter gene with which GFP expression could be induced by glutamine. An effect of glutamine on translation of a given mRNA has not been identified before, and this is the first evidence for a link between UCP2 and glutamine, an amino acid oxidized by immune cells or intestinal epithelium and playing a role in the control of insulin secretion.