Considering its small size relative to the rest of the body, the mammalian brain has a disproportionately high energy requirement. This energy is supplied to the brain mainly in the form of glucose through the principal cerebral glucose transporter, Glut1. Inactivation of even a single copy of the Glut1 gene, SLC2A1, has dire consequences for the brain, starving cerebral neurons of energy and triggering the debilitating neurodevelopmental disorder, Glut1 deficiency syndrome (Glut1 DS). Considering the monogenic nature of Glut1 DS, the disease serves as an excellent paradigm to study the larger family of brain energy failure syndromes. Here we review how studies of Glut1 DS are proving instructive to the brain's energy needs, focusing first on the requirements, both spatial and temporal of the transporter, second, on proposed mechanisms linking low Glut1 to brain dysfunction and, finally on efforts to treat the disease and thus restore nutritional support to the brain. These studies promise not only to inform mechanisms and treatments for the relatively rare Glut1 DS but also the myriad other conditions involving the Glut1 protein.
Keywords: Murine; Neuropathology.
© The Author(s) 2021.