We describe the functional expression of three members of the family of human facilitative glucose transporters, the erythrocyte-type transporter (GLUT 1), the liver-type transporter (GLUT 2), and the brain-type transporter (GLUT 3), by microinjection of their corresponding mRNAs into Xenopus oocytes. Expression was determined by the appearance of transport activity, as measured by the transport of 3-O-methyl-D-glucose or 2-deoxy-D-glucose. We have measured the Km for 3-O-methyl-D-glucose of GLUTs 1, 2, and 3, and the results are discussed in light of the possible roles for these different transporters in the regulation of blood glucose. The substrate specificity of these transporter isoforms has also been examined. We show that, for all transporters, the transport of 2-deoxy-D-glucose is inhibited by D-but not by L-glucose. In addition, both D-galactose and D-mannose are transported by GLUTs 1-3 at significant rates; furthermore, GLUT 2 is capable of transporting D-fructose. The nature of the glucose binding sites of GLUTs 1-3 was investigated by using hexose inhibition of 2-deoxy-D-glucose uptake. We show that the characteristics of this inhibition are different for each transporter isoform.