Two cell lines have been established from insulinomas obtained by targeted expression of the simian virus 40 T antigen gene in transgenic mice. These cell lines, designated MIN6 and MIN7, produce insulin and T antigen and have morphological characteristics of pancreatic beta cells. MIN6 cells exhibit glucose-inducible insulin secretion comparable with cultured normal mouse islet cells, whereas MIN7 cells do not. Both cell lines produce liver-type glucose transporter (GT) mRNA at high level. Brain-type GT mRNA is also present at considerable level in MIN7 cells, but is barely detectable in MIN6 cells, suggesting that exclusive expression of the liver-type GT is related to glucose-inducible insulin secretion. MIN6 cells do not express either major histocompatibility (MHC) class I or class II antigens on the cell surface. However, treatment with interferon-gamma induces high levels of MHC class I antigens, and a combination of interferon-gamma and tumor necrosis factor-alpha induces a MHC class II antigen on the cell surface. These results emphasize that the MIN6 cell line retains physiological characteristics of normal beta cells. The MIN6 cell line will be especially useful to analyze the molecular mechanisms by which beta cells regulate insulin secretion in response to extracellular glucose concentrations. We discuss a possible role of GT isoforms in glucose sensing by beta cells.