Protein deglycation, a new form of protein repair, involves several enzymes. Fructosamine-3-kinase (FN3K), an enzyme found in mammals and birds, phosphorylates fructosamines on the third carbon of their sugar moiety, making them unstable and causing them to detach from proteins. This enzyme acts particularly well on fructose-epsilon-lysine, both in free form and in the accessible regions of proteins. Mice deficient in FN3K accumulate protein-bound fructosamines and free fructoselysine, indicating that the deglycation mechanism initiated by FN3K is operative in vivo. Mammals and birds also have an enzyme designated 'FN3K-related protein' (FN3KRP), which shares ≈ 65% sequence identity with FN3K. Unlike FN3K, FN3KRP does not phosphorylate fructosamines, but acts on ribulosamines and erythrulosamines. As with FN3K, the third carbon is phosphorylated and this leads to destabilization of the ketoamines. Experiments with intact erythrocytes indicate that FN3KRP is also a protein-repair enzyme. Its physiological substrates are most likely formed from ribose 5-phosphate and erythrose 4-phosphate, which give rise to ketoamine 5- or 4-phosphates. The latter are dephosphorylated by 'low-molecular-weight protein-tyrosine-phosphatase-A' (LMW-PTP-A) before FN3KRP transfers a phosphate on the third carbon. The specificity of FN3K homologues present in plants and bacteria is similar to that of mammalian FN3KRP, suggesting that deglycation of ribulosamines and/or erythrulosamines is an ancient mechanism. Mammalian cells contain also a phosphatase acting on fructosamine 6-phosphates, which result from the reaction of proteins with glucose 6-phosphate.