Knockout of glucose transporter GLUT6 has minimal effects on whole body metabolic physiology in mice

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2018 Aug 1;315(2):E286-E293. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00082.2018. Epub 2018 Apr 17.


Glucose transporter 6 (GLUT6) is a member of the facilitative glucose transporter family. GLUT6 is upregulated in several cancers but is not widely expressed in normal tissues. Previous studies have shown that GLUT6 knockdown kills endometrial cancer cells that express elevated levels of the protein. However, whether GLUT6 represents a viable anticancer drug target is unclear because the role of GLUT6 in normal metabolic physiology is unknown. Herein we generated GLUT6 knockout mice to determine how loss of GLUT6 affected whole body glucose homeostasis and metabolic physiology. We found that the mouse GLUT6 ( Slc2a6) gene expression pattern was similar to humans with mRNA found primarily in brain and spleen. CRISPR-Cas9-mediated deletion of Slc2a6 did not alter mouse development, growth, or whole body glucose metabolism in male or female mice fed either a chow diet or Western diet. GLUT6 deletion did not impact glucose tolerance or blood glucose and insulin levels in male or female mice fed either diet. However, compared with wild-type littermate controls, GLUT6 null female mice had a relatively minor decrease in fat accumulation when fed Western diet and had a lower respiratory exchange ratio when fed chow diet. Collectively, these data show that GLUT6 is not a major regulator of whole body metabolic physiology; therefore, GLUT6 inhibition may have minimal adverse effects if targeted for cancer therapy.

Keywords: glucose; glucose transporter; metabolism; mouse physiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity / genetics
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Weight / genetics
  • CRISPR-Cas Systems
  • Diet
  • Energy Metabolism / genetics
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Glucose Transport Proteins, Facilitative / genetics*
  • Homeostasis / genetics
  • Insulin / blood
  • Male
  • Metabolism / genetics*
  • Metabolism / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glucose Transport Proteins, Facilitative
  • Insulin
  • Slc2a6 protein, mouse
  • Glucose