Glucose transporters in the 21st Century

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Feb;298(2):E141-5. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00712.2009. Epub 2009 Dec 15.


The ability to take up and metabolize glucose at the cellular level is a property shared by the vast majority of existing organisms. Most mammalian cells import glucose by a process of facilitative diffusion mediated by members of the Glut (SLC2A) family of membrane transport proteins. Fourteen Glut proteins are expressed in the human and they include transporters for substrates other than glucose, including fructose, myoinositol, and urate. The primary physiological substrates for at least half of the 14 Glut proteins are either uncertain or unknown. The well-established glucose transporter isoforms, Gluts 1-4, are known to have distinct regulatory and/or kinetic properties that reflect their specific roles in cellular and whole body glucose homeostasis. Separate review articles on many of the Glut proteins have recently appeared in this journal. Here, we provide a very brief summary of the known properties of the 14 Glut proteins and suggest some avenues of future investigation in this area.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glucose Transport Proteins, Facilitative / classification
  • Glucose Transport Proteins, Facilitative / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / classification
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism


  • Glucose Transport Proteins, Facilitative
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Glucose